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Psicologia, Saúde & Doenças

Print version ISSN 1645-0086


COUTINHO, Joana  and  OLIVEIRA, Alexandra. Sex work harm reduction in Portugal: the representations of health professionals. Psic., Saúde & Doenças [online]. 2014, vol.15, n.2, pp.538-553. ISSN 1645-0086.

Sex work harm reduction is the intervention strategy of many projects implemented around the world towards people involved in sex industry. This study aimed to know sex work harm reduction in Portugal by knowing and understanding the discourse of health professionals who intervene with sex workers in harm reduction projects. In particular, we aimed to understand the characteristics professionals ascribe to sex workers, how they qualify the intervention practices, and the analysis they make of their work and its implications on their health. For this purpose, after mapping the existing projects, we constructed a questionnaire distributed to all the health professionals involved. At the end, we obtained 60 questionnaires, about 72% of the total of the professionals involved, and we analyzed the answers. The research results indicate, among others, a comprehensive view of sex work and sex workers. Also, despite the projects still focus mainly on the prevention of diseases, there is a need for intervention aiming the empowerment. Regarding the perception of the impact on their health, half of the professionals considers that the positive and negative aspects of the work does not affect their health subjectively, while the other half point mostly negative implications, such as wearing out and the risk of contracting diseases or infections.

Keywords : sex work; harm reduction; social representations.

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