Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Programme

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The role of social media in sex work in urban, Blantyre Malawi: An ethnographic study.

Online social networking technologies have rapidly grown with billions of users worldwide. One way that these online sites are being used is in sex work. There is a lot of literature regarding social media effects in the context of sex work in developed countries as opposed to developing countries. This Ph.D. work by Doreen Sakala, therefore, investigates the role of social media in sex work in urban Blantyre, Malawi. This is a qualitative study using traditional and digital ethnography. During traditional ethnography, Sakala will spend daily life with the participants (Female Sex Workers), while during digital ethnography I will explore the participants’ online interactions. The aim is to understand how social media and social capital are used in sex work engagements, to identify social media-based health interventions. This PhD work is embedded in the Adapted Microplanning Eliminating Transmissible HIV in Sex Transactions (AMETHIST) study which aims to understand the sex work context and patterns in Malawi, to inform future HIV care and prevention intervention delivery.

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