Programming Connection

ORCHID 

Asian Society for the Intervention of AIDS (ASIA)
Vancouver, British Columbia
2010

Required Resources

Human resources

  • 1 project coordinator
  • 2 outreach team members per route

The project coordinator must understand the cultural nuances of commercial sex work, massage parlours and the communities that sex workers and managers come from. ORCHID has been coordinated successfully by both men and women.

The outreach teams are comprised of two workers. Both must identify as women and be comfortable and nonjudgmental when speaking about sex. One worker must be a current or former sex worker (the peer) and one must speak the first language of the women on that team’s route. Each parlour tends to employ women who share the same first language, and, whenever possible, each outreach team’s route consists of parlours in which the same primary language is spoken.

Mandarin and Cantonese are the predominant first languages spoken at the massage parlours served by ORCHID; however, as new massage parlours employing women who speak other languages are discovered and approached, volunteers and peers speaking these languages are recruited.

ORCHID utilizes the services of researchers to learn more about the women and to offer HIV and STI testing. However, having researchers on the team is not required to implement the program. The service delivery team can administer a demographic questionnaire and offer HIV and STI testing and counselling, if they have the training to do so. However, for ORCHID, having two arms of the project has been helpful, as it has allowed each arm to focus on its area of expertise. The research arm is experienced in administering questionnaires and STI tests to “vulnerable” populations and is able to report on the research to further improve the service delivery.

Material resources

  • Condoms
  • Lubricant
  • Latex gloves
  • Sexual health and legal information pamphlets in the first language of target clientele
  • Gifts for parlour managers (such as cookies or other culturally appropriate items)
  • Gifts for female sex workers (such as Chinese-style purses in which safer-sex supplies can be stored)
  • STI and HIV tests

Financial resources

  • Honoraria for peer outreach workers. ORCHID pays peers $15/hour for outreach, meetings/training and to create outreach packages (labelling condoms and collating resources)
  • Condoms, purses and snacks
  • Translation and printing of informational pamphlets

Given the sensitive nature of the project, funding must be long term and sustainable.