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In this article, ART access refers to access to free first-line ART regimens available in government ART centers supported by NACO.The three government ART centers that provide ART to adults in Chennai are located within the major government hospitals.

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Barriers can be addressed by: creating effective measures to reduce stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and sex work at the familial, societal, and health care system levels; incorporating information about ART into targeted interventions among FSWs; training counselors at government hospitals and NGO outreach workers on treatment issues; improving infrastructure and staffing levels at government centers to allow adequate time and privacy for counseling; and implementing government mass media campaigns on ART availability.

Finally, it is crucial that NACO begin monitoring ART coverage of FSWs and other marginalized populations to ensure equitable ART access.

In 2004, the government of India began providing free first-line ART in government ART centers.

According to India's National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), “Under NACP-III [third phase of the National AIDS Control Programme], first-line ART drugs will be provided to all those who need it.” Furthermore, NACO maintains that public health facilities need to ensure that ART is provided to PLHIV, including female sex workers (FSWs), referred from targeted interventions.

Between August and November 2007, we conducted three focus group discussions (FGDs) and two key informant interviews among FSWs recruited through nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that provide services to FSWs in Chennai.