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Communication barriers for Sinhala speaking Female Sex Workers (FSW), Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and Transgender women (TGW) attending central STD clinic Colombo, due to linguistic variations of sexual health related terms: A Qualitative study

Authors:

W. S. Pannala ,

National STD/AIDS Control Programme, LK
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P. A. D. M. P. Perera,

National STD/AIDS Control programme, LK
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L. P. P. Godakandaarachchi,

National STD/AIDS Control programme, LK
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I. J. Munasinghe,

National STD/AIDS Control programme, LK
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S. N. Jayasuriya,

National STD/AIDS Control programme, LK
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G. Weerasinghe

National STD/AIDS Control programme, LK
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Abstract

Introduction: Information regarding sexual health and related issues are of utmost importance to FSW, MSM and TGW as their life styles are deeply bound with them. However, it is difficult to deliver information which mostly goes with medical jargon to populations with lower understanding of them.

 

Objectives: To describe the linguistic patterns and terms when communicating sex related issues and their variations, among Sinhala speaking FSW, MSM and TGW STD clinic attendees of Colombo and explore barriers in understanding available leaflets for HIV/ STD prevention.

 

Method: Qualitative study done, using in depth interviews among 8 FSW, 6 MSM and 6 TGW. Transcripts taken were used for exploratory content analysis and coding and analysis of data was done manually.

 

Results: Several categories of terms, slang words, terms derived from English and scientific words are used to describe external genitalia and sexual behaviors. MSM had higher educational levels and used more English terms. FSW had secondary education, used slang words including names of vegetables to describe the external genitalia. However, they used English derived terms to describe sexual behaviours as they are interacting with clients. TGW had a set of characteristic terms, unique to them and not understood by the others.MSM and TGW understood most terms in leaflets except the medical jargon describing genital tract anatomy. Understanding of leaflets was better for MSM and TGW than FSW. Some members from all groups misinterpreted the term ‘unprotected sexual exposure.

 

Conclusion: It is important to consider these linguistic variations when communicating with high risk populations to achieve better understanding and effective health promotion.

How to Cite: Pannala, W.S., Perera, P.A.D.M.P., Godakandaarachchi, L.P.P., Munasinghe, I.J., Jayasuriya, S.N. and Weerasinghe, G., 2018. Communication barriers for Sinhala speaking Female Sex Workers (FSW), Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and Transgender women (TGW) attending central STD clinic Colombo, due to linguistic variations of sexual health related terms: A Qualitative study. Sri Lanka Journal of Sexual Health and HIV Medicine, 4, pp.24–29. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/joshhm.v4i0.73
Published on 26 Dec 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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