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Culminating MPH Project

Sex workers who work in exclusively independent venues have higher rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.  Most outreach intervention programs are targeted at street based sex workers because they are the most visible and easily accessible group of sex workers to reach.  Interventions aimed at indoor sex workers are few and far between.  Independent sex workers/adult entertainers who work in-doors or through Internet based venues are not being reached by traditional health promotion interventions or outreach activities.  This project utilized an emerging web-based social media tool, podcasting, to reach Independent sex workers/adult entertainers who have access to the Internet.

The primary questions of the project were:
  1. How many independent sex workers/adult entertainers would subscribe to a podcast on collective sex work? 
  2. Would independent sex workers/adult entertainers be more likely to work in collective sex work as a result of listening to this podcast? 
  3. What do sex workers need or want from a podcast to make it useful in their work? 
The major activities of this project included: Engaging members of the Sex Worker community to facilitate all aspects of the project; Creating a podcast about the benefits and challenges of networking among Sex Workers titled RenegadeCast-Sex Workers organizing for health; Building a website to host RenegadeCast as well as blogs and other media pertinent to the community of Sex Workers engaged in the project; Developing on on-line survey so that RenegadeCast listeners could evaluate Episode 1, "Pandering for our health" and; Promoting the website, podcast and survey through public, private and semi-private Sex Worker emails, list serves and forums on Erotic Service Provdier websites.

Key areas of interest were that in a three week period, over 1,500 people visited the website, 216 listened to the podcast, 36 people started the survey and 27 compeleted it; 16 people heard about the podcast through email invitations (8 word of mouth).  Of the 27 people who completed the survey, 8 identifed as current, idependent Sex Workers (in the last 3 months).

The majority responded that, as a result of listening to this podcast, they would be more likely to network with other workers about occupational health and safety issues and thought that it would be benficial to do so.  Half stated they learned a challenge and benefit to networking with other workers from the show.  Most survey respondents said they would recomend RenegadeCast to other Sex Workers and subscribe to the show in the future.  Results further revealed that participants wanted the podcast to be more reflective of the diversity of their community, and to include art, culture, and social organization.  While listeners want and need health information, a podcast that does not address other aspects of their work and life is unlikely to be embraced by this community.

More information on this project can be found by listening to Episode 2: Evaluating RenegadeCast or by downloading the full report.  Sex Workers can call 206-350-3668 and leave a 3 minute message that will be included in future episodes of RenegadeCast.
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