U.S. Has Paid $1.44 Million for Project That is Studying the 'Social Milieu' of Male Prostitutes in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi

By Edwin Mora | June 28, 2010 | 6:51pm EDT

Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Wikipedia Commons)

(CNSNews.com) - The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has so far awarded $1.44 million in federal funds to a project that, among other things, is estimating the size of the population and examining the “social milieu” of male prostitutes in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

“In Study 1, formative ethnography will be used to describe the settings, venues, and overall social milieu in which male sex work is being situated,” says the NIH abstract for the grant. “In Study 2, we will conduct a Capture-Recapture Survey to estimate the size of the male sex worker population in each city.”

The grant project began in July 2008 and is scheduled to run through March 2012. In fiscal year 2008, the NIH awarded the project $534,201 in federal funds. In fiscal year 2009, the NIH awarded the project $465,974; and in fiscal year 2010, the NIH awarded the project $442,340.  So far, a total of $1,442,515 in federal funds have been awarded to the project.

The NIH abstract for the grant says the study of HIV infections in Vietnam has only recently begun to pay attention to “men who have sex with men.”
“This study seeks to address an important public health question: what is the impact of male sex work on the growing HIV epidemics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam?” says the NIH abstract. “HIV rates in Vietnam are rapidly increasing, and yet there are limited data on the role that different populations play in this increase. Existing data are based on the assumption that HIV is found primarily in injection drug users and female sex workers, with only recent attention being paid to men who have sex with men.”

The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) is listed by the NIH abstract as the grant recipient. UPR's Michael Clatts, the study's principal investigator, and NIDA did not respond to CNSNews.com's requests for comment.

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