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The Role of Transactional Sex in the Spread of HIV/AIDS: A Modeling Perspective

The sex industry has been implicated in the spread of HIV across the world. In this article we propose a simple theoretical model consisting of two core groups of interacting heterosexual populations. One of the core group consists of male truck drivers and the other group consists of female sex workers. The truck drivers need for entertainment and female companionship make them use the services of the female sex workers in stop-over towns near major transportation routes. The resulting co-mingling of these sexually active, high-risk populations not only explains high prevalence of HIV in truck drivers and female sex workers and the subsequent spread of the disease in general population, but also points out the magnitude of the problem and the urgency of introducing effective controls. Our model assumes (i) a low level of condom use among the trucking population and female sex workers, (ii) high level of HIV in both truck drivers and female sex workers, and (iii) continuous recruitment in both groups when losses due to AIDS or natural factors occur. We give the complete analysis of the disease free and endemic equilibria. With that we also show the effect of reducing HIV cases in both groups by lowering of HIV transmission rates (e.g. by using condoms.)

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Titus G. Kassem, University of Jos, Nigeria
Svetlana Roudenko, Arizona State University
Stephen Tennenbaum, Cornell University
Carlos Castillo-Chávez, Arizona State University