Monday, 13 January 2014

First study of sexual health among UK Male sex workers

While male sex workers may be getting more of a voice in the popular press, there is still one area of their work that is totally in the dark: their sexual health. Touched on partially in the BBC report I analysed last week - the reporter asked whether any of them would be willing to have unprotected sex with a client, some of them confessed they would at an increased cost - there are obvious conversations happening around the health of male sex workers (MSW), but surprisingly there has been very little research by the medical profession into the male sex worker community. Until last month.

A study published in the online edition of Sexually Transmitted Infections, has attempted to establish a picture of the characteristics and sexual health of men that are selling sex in the UK. A team of investigators studied the 2011 records of men that visited GUM clinics. In total 627,780 men attended sexual health services, but only 411 were identified as being a MSW. That's not many at all, but the authors of the study believed the true figure is higher, however, many MSW's don't feel inclined to disclose their profession when getting tested.

Ok, so this doesn't leave the study with a huge number, but you have to start somewhere and considering no one had attempted to make any sort of document of the health of male sex workers previously (maybe because they felt there wasn't enough data?), then this is the best snap shot we got of how guys working in the sex industry are looking after themselves.

Despite only having a small sample to analyse, it appears that most sex workers are taking their health seriously, visiting sexual health services more than twice as many times as other men (4.5 vs 2.3 visits respectively). Taking that a step further, migrant MSW's are more likely to get tested more often than UK-born MSW's.  

Reading the results, what surprised me the most were the findings about age and where the majority of UK male sex works are from originally. Reading between the lines, it seems that UK punters have a preference for 35 year old South American guys Most MSW in Britain have migrated from South America. So, can we deduce that UK punters have a particular thing for Latino men?

Read the full report here. 

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