The practice of evidence-based medicine is well established and research is a key element. Evidence based approaches require an understanding of the complexities of the interactions and dynamics that influence decision-making. Qualitative research methods are increasingly being used to complement the findings of the traditional quantitative methods. A qualitative study which examines the sexual choices of commercial sex-workers is described to demonstrate the usefulness of this type of study.
Focus group discussions give the reasons for the non-regular use of condoms and identify other factors needing intervention. These include low self-esteem and poor job satisfaction as well as problems with violence and drug use. It provides vital information for HIV/AIDS prevention activities for commercial sex-workers.