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  • Dr Elizabeth Plumridge, Dept Public Health & General Practice, School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
  • Prof Jane Chetwynd, Dept Public Health & General Practice, School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
  • Ms Catherine Healey, NZPC
  • Ms Anna Reed, NZPC


The objectives of the study were to investigate

  • Knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS and its prevention
  • Sexual networks and how behaviour alters in different social contexts
  • Explanations, interpretations and justifications made by clients for their sexual behaviours
  • Sources relied upon by clients for knowledge and ideas, values and attitudes in regard to sex.

Analysis of the transcripts of interviews with twenty-five clients has resulted in increased understanding of how such men position themselves with regard to risk taking and responsibility for safer sex, and how they construe pleasure and reciprocity between participants in commercial sex. The men position themselves benignly. Risk is 'normalised', either by construing their activities as confined within a 'cordon sanitaire' of safe venues, through convictions of invulnerability or fatalistic inevitability, or by arguing they are expert judges of their partners' responsible attitudes to safer sex. Responsibility in commercial sex is espoused, but interpreted to mean acquiescence in the regime imposed by the worker: she is held accountable for safer sec practice and failures. The men argue that commercial sex is one of reciprocal pleasure in which money buys freedom from any obligations outside the commercial environment.


  • Plumridge EW, Chetwynd SJ, gifford SJ. Patrons of the sex industry; perceptions of risk. AIDS Care, 8(4): 405-16, 1996.
  • Plumridge EW, Chetwynd SJ, gifford SM and Reed A. Discourses of emotionality in commercial sex. Feminism and Psychology 7(2): 165-81, 1997.
  • Plumridge EW, Chetwynd SJ Control and condoms in commercial sex: client perspectives. Sociology of Health and Illness 19(2): 228-43, 1997
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