To examine the practices of anal intercourse and dry sex within a cohort of female sex workers (FSWs) in Kenya, focusing on the prevalence and perceived risk of the practices, demographic and behavioural correlates, and association with sexually transmitted infections (STI).
A survey was conducted among FSWs in Meru, Kenya, with 147 participants randomly sampled from an existing cohort of self identified FSWs.
40.8% of participants reported ever practising anal intercourse and 36.1% reported ever practising dry sex. Although the majority of women surveyed believed anal intercourse and dry sex to be high risk practices for HIV infection compared with vaginal sex, about one third of women reported never or rarely using condoms during anal intercourse, and about 20% never or rarely using condoms during dry sex. Reported consistent condom use was lower with both of these practices than with penile‐vaginal intercourse. Anal intercourse was associated with experience of recent forced sexual intercourse, while dry sex was not. Anal intercourse was almost always initiated by clients, whereas dry sex was likely to be initiated by the women themselves. Sex workers reported charging higher fees for both practices than for vaginal intercourse. Both practices were associated with reported symptoms and diagnoses of STI.
Both anal intercourse and dry sex were common in this sample, and although perceived as high risk practices, were not adequately protected with condom use. Education and other interventions regarding these high risk sexual behaviours need to be translated into safer practices, particularly consistent condom use, even in the face of financial vulnerability.
anal intercourse; dry sex; high risk practices; female sex workers; sexually transmitted infections; HIV; Kenya
The anal sex among heterosexual couples is on the rise as reported in many scientific studies. Considering that unprotected anal sex has higher risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission than the vaginal sex, we undertook a study to understand the anal sex practices among Female Sex Workers (FSW).
Materials and Methods:
The study was conducted among FSW attending 11 randomly selected sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics in Bill and Melinda Gates supported targeted interventions in Andhra Pradesh. A structured questionnaire was administered to the 555 FSW attending these clinics by project clinic counselors. Informed consent was obtained from all the study participants.
Engaging in anal sex was self reported by 22% of sex workers, though demand from clients was reported to be much higher (40%). The reasons for anal sex practices included more money (61%), clout/influence of the client (45%), risk of losing client (27%), and forced sex (1.2%). Factors associated with anal sex were higher number of clients, higher duration of sex work, higher income, and older age group. Associated risks perceived by FSW were bleeding and injury to anal canal (98%) while only 28% associated it with higher HIV transmission risk. Reported Condom and lubricant use was about 88% and 39% respectively.
The study shows that there is frequent anal sex, inconsistent condom and infrequent lubricant usage, economic and physical coercion, and low awareness of STI/HIV transmission risk among FSW, which have serious implications for HIV prevention programmes. There is a need to focus on anal sex education and use of lubricants along with condoms during anal sex in FSW-targeted interventions in AP.
Anal sex; female sex workers; human immunodeficiency virus; HIV transmission; sexually transmitted infection
Background: South Africa has one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics in the world and new infections may often result from people who have tested HIV positive. This study examined the sexual practices and risk behaviours of men and women living with HIV/AIDS being treated for a co-occurring sexually transmitted infection (STI). Methods: A sample of men and women receiving services at three South African STI clinics completed a computer administered behavioural assessment. Results: Among the 218 HIV positive STI clinic patients, 34 (16%) had engaged in unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse with uninfected or unknown HIV status sex partners in the previous month. A multivariate logistic regression indicated that unprotected sex with uninfected or unknown HIV status partners was independently associated with older age, female gender, alcohol use, and other drug use, and drug use in sexual contexts. Conclusions: People living with HIV/AIDS who contract co-occurring STI are at significant risk for transmitting HIV to uninfected partners. Positive prevention interventions are urgently needed for South Africa.
HIV/AIDS; HIV infectiousness; positive prevention; sexually transmitted infections.
Intravaginal and menstrual practices may potentially influence results of trials of microbicides for HIV prevention through effects on the vaginal environment and on adherence to microbicide and placebo products. As part of the feasibility study for the Microbicides Development Programme Phase 3 trial of a vaginal microbicide in Mwanza, a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods were used to describe these practices, associations with behaviour and underlying social norms among women working in food and recreational facilities. Intravaginal cleansing by inserting fingers and either water alone or soap and water was thought necessary to remove “uchafu” (dirt), referring to vaginal secretions, including menstrual blood and post-coital discharge. Vaginal cleansing was carried out within 2 hours after 45% of sex acts. Sexual enhancement practices were less common. Intravaginal and menstrual practices and associated behaviours and demographic factors should be measured and monitored throughout microbicide trials to enable analyses of their impacts on microbicide effectiveness.
Africa; Vaginal practices; Women; HIV; Vaginal microbicides; Prevention of sexual transmission
To explore attitudes toward hypothetical vaginal microbicides and willingness to use them among female sex workers (FSWs) in a district of Beijing, China, and to identify factors likely to affect acceptability and use of microbicides for HIV prevention among this population.
An exploratory cross-sectional study using convenience sampling was conducted. A total of 54 FSWs were recruited from Shijingshan District in Beijing for a face-to-face interview. Main outcome variables were measured by a microbicide acceptability score, perception of HIV/STI risk and self-reported high-risk sexual behaviors, condom use, HIV/STI history, and self-reported experience of vaginal product use.
Mean score of microbicide acceptability in FSWs was 2.73, with a standard deviation (SD) of 0.46 (ranging from 1 to 4). Acceptability score varied by partner types (p = 0.025), history of HIV testing (p = 0.037), and concern about contracting an STI (p = 0.042). Covert use of microbicides in FSWs with various sexual partners was statistically different (p = 0.001). FSWs preferred to pay for microbicides and to use them covertly.
In general, FSWs in Shijinghsan District might have a positive response to microbicides across all hypothetical characteristics. Further study is needed for comprehensive understanding of the contextual factors of microbicide use.
Information about risky sexual behavior among people living with HIV/AIDS is important to prevent the spread of the disease. Using an anonymous, self-administrated questionnaire, we surveyed 185 HIV-infected patients about risk behaviors at the University Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Croatia. Unprotected anal or vaginal sex in the preceding 6 months with partners of uninfected/unknown HIV status was reported by 20% of men who have sex with men (MSM), about half of whom reported multiple casual partners of unknown HIV status; 6% of heterosexual men; and 3% of women. Heterosexual patients were potentially more likely to expose regular partners to HIV but reported no risk behaviors with casual, non-concordant partners. MSM reported more risk behaviors, which were strongly associated with having ≥2 sexual partners in the last 6 months and both insertive and receptive anal sex. Educational interventions in Croatia should target MSM to prevent high rates of HIV transmission
Men who have sex with men; Risk factors; Condom use; Croatia; HIV
Objective. Control of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among female sex workers (FSWs) is an important strategy to reduce HIV transmission. A study was conducted to determine the prevalence and assess the current clinical management of STIs in India. Methods. FSWs attending three clinics for regular checkups or symptoms were screened for study eligibility. A behavioral questionnaire was administered, clinical examination performed, and laboratory samples collected. Results. 417 study participants reported a mean number of 4.9 (SD 3.5) commercial clients in the last week. 14.6% reported anal sex in the last three months. Consistent condom use with commercial and regular partners was 70.1% and 17.5%, respectively. The prevalence of gonorrhea was 14.1%, chlamydia 16.1%, and trichomoniasis 31.1% with a third of all infections being asymptomatic. Syphilis seropositivity was 10.1%. Conclusions. At study sites, presumptive treatment for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis screening should continue. Presumptive treatment for trichomoniasis should be considered. Consistent condom use and partner treatment need to be reemphasized.
We sought to assess the potential acceptability of intravaginal rings (IVRs) as an HIV prevention method among at-risk women and men.
We conducted a qualitative assessment of initial attitudes toward IVRs, current HIV prevention methods, and common behavioral practices among female sex workers (FSWs) and men who frequent FSWs in Mukuru, an urban slum community in Nairobi, Kenya. Nineteen women and 21 men took part in six focus group discussions.
Most participants, both male and female, responded positively to the concept of an IVR as a device for delivering microbicides. Women particularly liked the convenience offered by its slow-release capacity. Some female respondents raised concerns about whether male customers would discover the ring and respond negatively, whereas others thought it unlikely that their clients would feel the ring. Focus groups conducted with male clients of FSWs suggested that many would be enthusiastic about women, and particularly sex workers, using a microbicide ring, but that women's fears about negative responses to covert use were well founded. Overall, this high-risk population of FSWs and male clients in Nairobi was very open to the IVR as a potential HIV prevention device.
Themes that emerged from the focus groups highlight the importance of understanding attitudes toward IVRs as well as cultural practices that may impact IVR use in high-risk populations when pursuing clinical development of this potential HIV prevention device.
Background and Objective
Vaginal douching has been hypothesized to increase a woman’s risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. However, data on the prevalence of this practice and its association with condom use and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are limited.
A cross-sectional survey among 454 female sex workers (FSWs) in a Chinese county.
Vaginal douching was reported by 64.7% of the women. The prevalence of self-reported history of STI and that of current STI was 19.4% and 41.5%, respectively. Fifteen percent of the women reported consistent use of condoms with their clients and 8.4% with their regular partners. Vaginal douching was significantly associated with decreased use of condoms (with clients: OR = 0.31; with regular partner(s): OR = 0.22) and increased rate of self-reported STI history (OR = 1.95). However, there was no direct relation between douching and current STI. Over one third of the women believed that douching can prevent STI/HIV.
Vaginal douching exposes FSWs to a high risk of STI/HIV. Medical professional and public health workers should correct women’s misconception about the effectiveness of douching and discourage women from douching through educational activities.
Background: In sub-Saharan Africa, female sex workers (FSWs) are a vulnerable high risk group for the acquisition and transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV.
Objectives: To study parameters of sexual behaviour and knowledge of STI and HIV, to describe health seeking behaviour related to STI, and to measure the prevalence of gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV-1, to provide baseline data for targeted STI and HIV prevention interventions.
Methods: In a cross sectional survey with snowballing recruitment, between February and March 2000, 503 self identified FSWs in a suburb in Mombasa, Kenya, were interviewed with a structured questionnaire and screened for gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV-1.
Results: The mean number of sexual partners in the previous week was 2.8 (SD 1.6). The mean number of non-regular clients and regular clients in the previous week was 1.5 (1.0) and 1.0 (0.9) respectively. The median weekly income from sex work was $US15. A total of 337 (67%) women had an alternative income in the informal sector. 146 (29%) and 145 (45%) never used a condom with a client and non-paying partner respectively. The prevalence of gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and syphilis was 1.8%, 4.2%, and 2.0% respectively. The overall HIV-1 seroprevalence was 30.6%.
Conclusions: There is a large need for intensive STI and HIV prevention interventions in part time FSW.
Male clients of female sex workers (FSWs) may act as a bridge to the general population contributing to the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the United States and Mexico. This study used cross-sectional data to identify psychosexual and social cognitive factors associated with sexual risk behavior in a bi-national sample of 300 male clients of FSWs recruited in Tijuana, Mexico from June to October, 2008. In a multiple regression analysis, the number of unprotected vaginal sex acts with FSWs was associated with higher sexual compulsivity scores, lower self-efficacy for condom use, greater use of illicit drugs, and more financial need. Behavioral interventions are urgently needed to assist clients of FSWs in reducing high-risk behaviors in an effort to prevent the spread of HIV/STIs in this high-risk population and their sexual partners.
male clients; female sex workers; sexual risk behavior; U.S.- Mexico border
Heterosexual contact is the most common mode of HIV transmission in India that is largely linked to sex work. We assessed the non-use of condoms in sex work and with regular sex partners by female sex workers (FSWs), and identified its associations that could assist in planning HIV prevention programmes.
Detailed documentation of various aspects of sex work, and sexual behaviour with regular sex partners, was done through confidential interviews for 6648 FSWs in 13 districts in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Multivariate analysis was done to understand condom non-use with clients.
5010 (75.4%), 1499 (22.5%), and 139 (2.1%) FSWs were street-, home-, and brothel-based, respectively. Of the total 6648 FSWs, 6165 (92.7%) had penetrative vaginal/anal sex with at least one client in the last 15 days, and of these 2907 (47.2%; 95% CI 41.2–53.2%) reported non-use of condom with at least one of her last three clients. Lack of knowledge that HIV could be prevented (odds ratio 5.01; 95% CI 4.38–5.73), no access to free condoms (odds ratio 3.45; 95% CI 2.99–3.98), being street-based as compared with brothel-based (odds ratio 3.36; 95% CI 1.87–6.04), and no participation in FSW support groups (odds ratio 2.02; 95% CI 1.50–2.70) were the most significant predictors of condom non-use with clients. Other associations included lower social support, lower income, age >24 years, illiteracy, and living in medium-size urban or rural areas. Of the 2582 who had penetrative sex with regular sex partner within the last 7 days, 2428 (94%; 95% CI 92.1–95.9%) had not used condom at last sex, and 1032 (41.8%) had neither used condom consistently with clients nor with regular sex partner.
About half the FSWs do not use condom consistently with their clients in this Indian state putting them at high risk of HIV infection. Non-brothel-based FSWs, who form the majority of sex workers in India, were at a significantly higher risk of HIV infection as compared with brothel-based FSWs. With their high vulnerability, the success of expansion of HIV prevention efforts will depend on achieving and sustaining an environment that enables HIV prevention with the non-brothel based FSWs.
Purpose of review
The purpose of this review is to summarize the latest research regarding HIV/STI risk among female sex workers (FSWs) along the Mexico-U.S. border. Although Mexico has a low prevalence of HIV overall, HIV prevalence among FSWs in Tijuana is quite high, and even higher among FSWs who inject drugs (FSW-IDUs). Efforts to better understand and curtail the HIV epidemic among FSWs in this region are greatly needed.
A brief HIV/STI risk reduction intervention for FSWs was successful in decreasing HIV/STI sexual risk behavior with clients among FSWs in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. However, the intervention was less effective among FSW-IDUs, and had no effect on FSWs' condom use with their non-commercial partners. While the majority of research thus far has focused on FSWs' individual-level risk factors, comparatively less is known about their clients and non-commercial sexual partners who may heavily influence their behavior, and engage in high risk behaviors themselves.
Further studies including FSWs' intimate partners and clients are needed as well as interventions specific to FSW-IDUs. Targeting the most at risk populations and reducing both sexual and injection risk behaviors simultaneously may curb the growing HIV epidemic in the Mexico-U.S. border region.
female sex workers; HIV/STIs; Mexico-U.S.; border
Intravaginal cleansing may predispose women to adverse health outcomes and may interfere with the effectiveness and safety of female-initiated methods for preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In a 4-week randomized study of 192 Malagasy sex workers, we evaluated associations between self-reported intravaginal cleansing and randomization assignment: diaphragm with viscous candidate microbicide gel (Acidform™, TOPCAD, Chicago, IL, licensed to Instead, Coppell, TX), diaphragm with placebo hydroxyethylcellulose gel (HEC, ReProtect LLC, Baltimore, MD), Acidform alone, or HEC alone.
Women were counseled to avoid intravaginal cleansing and were blinded to gel assignment. We evaluated changes in self-reported intravaginal cleansing across the study and assessed the effects of treatment assignment and covariates on frequent (more than once daily) intravaginal cleansing. Significant predictors in domain-specific models were evaluated in an all-domain multiple regression model.
The proportion of women reporting intravaginal cleansing decreased from baseline (97%) to week 1 (82%) (p < 0.001). Self-reported frequent intravaginal cleansing decreased from baseline (87% to 56%) during the same time period (p < 0.001). In adjusted analyses, the Acidform-diaphragm group had 60% lower odds of frequent intravaginal cleansing during the study (odds ratio [OR] 0.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.2-0.8) compared to the control group (HEC only). HEC-diaphragm and Acidform only users did not differ from controls. Living on the coast of Madagascar, not cohabiting, frequent intravaginal cleansing at enrollment, and high coital frequency predicted frequent intravaginal cleansing during follow-up.
Gel characteristics and the diaphragm's presence likely influenced women's cleansing. Viscous gel delivered by a cervical barrier (such as a diaphragm) may minimize the likelihood of frequent intravaginal cleansing.
Commercial sex work is widely recognized as a primary context for heterosexual transmission of HIV/AIDS in many regions, including Southeast Asia. While violence victimization is considered to compromise women’s ability to protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), with female sex workers (FSWs) uniquely affected, little research has investigated the role of violence as it relates to sexual risk and STI outcomes among FSWs. The current study sought to compare experiences of sexual risk and STI symptoms among FSWs based on their recent exposure to violence.
Data from a national sample of FSWs in Thailand (n=815) was used to assess a) the prevalence of experiencing recent physical or sexual violence within the context of sex work, and b) associations of such victimization with sexual risk (i.e., anal sex, condom non-use, condom failure, client condom refusal) and self-reported STI symptoms.
Approximately 1 in 7 FSWs (14.6%) had experienced physical or sexual violence in the week prior to the survey. As compared with their non-victimized counterparts, FSWs exposed to recent violence were at greater risk for recent condom failure (19.6% vs. 12.3%, ARR 1.92, 95% CI 1.24, 2.95) and client condom refusal (85.7% vs. 69.0%, ARR 1.24, 95% CI 1.14, 1.35). In analyses adjusted for sexual risk, violence related to both STI symptoms collectively (ARR 1.11, 95% CI 1.02, 1.21) and genital lesions as an individual STI symptom (ARR 1.78, 95% CI 1.20, 2.66).
Physical and sexual violence against FSWs in Thailand appears to be a common experience, with victims of such violence demonstrating diminished capacity for STI/HIV harm reduction and greater prevalence of STI symptoms. Comprehensive efforts to reduce violence towards this vulnerable population must be prioritized, as a means of protecting the human rights of FSWs, and as a key component of STI/HIV prevention and control.
Sex work; Violence; STI symptoms; Sexual Risk; Thailand
To investigate sexual practices and risk factors for prevalent HIV infection among young men in Kisumu, Kenya.
The goal of this study was to identify behaviors associated with HIV in Kisumu to maximize the effectiveness of future prevention programs.
Lifetime sexual histories were collected from a nested sample of 1337 uncircumcised participants within the context of a randomized controlled trial of male circumcision to reduce HIV incidence.
Sixty-five men (5%) tested positive for HIV. Multiple logistic regression revealed the following independent predictors of HIV: older age, less education being married, being Catholic, >4 lifetime sex partners, prior treatment for an STI, sex during partner’s menstruation, ever practicing bloodletting, and receipt of a medical injection in the last 6 months. Prior HIV testing and post coital cleansing were protective.
This analysis confirms the importance of established risk factors for HIV and identifies practices that warrant further investigation.
HIV; risk factors; sexual behavior; Africa
Intravaginal insertion is often associated with the concept of ‘dry’ sex. All HIV-prevention microbicides tested to date have been vaginally applied lubricant-based gels. In this paper, we examine whether the use of intravaginal insertions could be in conflict with the introduction of vaginal microbicide gels. The Africa Centre site was part of the Microbicides Development Programme evaluating PRO2000/5 microbicide gel. We conducted in-depth-interviews and focus-group discussions with women enrolled in the trial as well as women and men from the community. The analysis focused on people's knowledge of intravaginal insertion in the community and trial participants’ experience of using trial gels. Intravaginal use of a variety of products was widely acknowledged. We found that the experience of using trial gels - which made sex ‘hot’, ‘tight’ and ‘dry’ - matched the desired outcomes of intravaginal insertion. We found that vaginal ‘dryness’ described the removal of excessive amounts of unusual discharge, rather than the removal of normal vaginal secretions and that intravaginal insertion is not exclusively associated with a desire for ‘dry’ sex. Study findings provide evidence that vaginal microbicide gels may be more acceptable in communities where intravaginal insertion is practiced than was previously thought.
intravaginal insertion; microbicides; KwaZulu-Natal; South Africa
Objective: To assess the association between vaginal douching and sexually transmitted infections (STI) among a group of female sex workers (FSWs) in Nairobi, Kenya.
Methods: This study was part of a randomised, placebo controlled trial of monthly prophylaxis with 1 g of azithromycin to prevent STIs and HIV infection in a cohort of Nairobi FSWs. Consenting women were administered a questionnaire and screened for STIs.
Results: The seroprevalence of HIV-1 among 543 FSWs screened was 30%. HIV infection was significantly associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV), trichomoniasis, gonorrhoea, and the presence of a genital ulcer. Regular douching was reported by 72% of the women, of whom the majority inserted fluids in the vagina, generally after each sexual intercourse. Water with soap was the fluid most often used (81%), followed by salty water (18%), water alone (9%), and a commercial antiseptic (5%). Douching in general and douching with soap and water were significantly associated with bacterial vaginosis (p = 0.05 and p = 0.04 respectively). There was a significant trend for increased frequency of douching and higher prevalence of BV. There was no direct relation observed between douching and risk for HIV infection or other STIs.
Conclusion: The widespread habit of douching among African female sex workers was confirmed. The association between vaginal douching and BV is of concern, given the increased risk of HIV infection with BV, which has now been shown in several studies. It is unclear why we could not demonstrate a direct association between douching and HIV infection. Further research is required to better understand the complex relation between douching, risk for bacterial vaginosis, and risk for HIV and other STIs.
Key Words: vaginal douching; sexually transmitted infections; female sex workers
This study examined correlates of the discordance between sexual behavior self-reports and Incident Sexually Transmitted Infections. African American adolescent females (N = 964) from four U.S. cities were recruited for an HIV/STI prevention trial. Self-reported sexual behaviors, demographics, and hypothesized psychosocial antecedents of sexual risk behavior were collected at baseline, 6-, 12-, and 18-month follow-up assessments. Urine specimens were collected and tested for three prevalent STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomonas) at each assessment. Seventeen percent of participants with a laboratory-confirmed STI reported either lifetime abstinence or recent abstinence from vaginal sex (discordant self-report). Lower STI knowledge, belief that fewer peers were engaging in sex, and belief that more peers will wait until marriage to have sex were associated with discordant reports. Discordance between self-reported abstinence and incident STIs was marked among African American female adolescents. Lack of STI knowledge and sexual behavior peer norms may result in underreporting of sexual behaviors.
Self-report; African American female adolescents; Sexually transmitted infection (STI); Validity; Measurement
To assess the impact of interventions targeted towards female sex workers (FSWs) and their male clients on client HIV/STI prevalence and sexual behaviour.
From 1993 to 2006, an HIV/STI preventive intervention focusing on condom promotion and STI care was implemented among FSWs in Cotonou, Benin, and then expanded to cover their male sexual partners in 2000. The interventions were scaled up to five other cities of Benin in 2001–2002. Serial cross‐sectional surveys of HIV/STI prevalence and sexual behaviour were carried out among clients in Cotonou in 1998, 2002 and 2005; and in the five other cities (O/Cotonou) in 2002 and 2005.
Significant declines in gonorrhoea prevalence among clients of FSWs: Cotonou, from 5.4% in 1998 to 1.6% in 2005; O/Cotonou: from 3.5% in 2002 to 0.59% in 2005. Chlamydia prevalence also declined O/Cotonou, from 4.8% to 1.8%, while HIV prevalence remained stable. Reported condom use by clients with both FSWs and casual non‐FSW partners, but not regular partners, increased significantly. While condom use at last sex with an FSW was similar in Cotonou to O/Cotonou around the time of implementation of the interventions (56% in 1998 vs 49% in 2002, respectively), it had risen to similar levels by 2005 (95% and 96%, respectively).
These results demonstrate that it is possible to implement preventive and clinical services for clients of FSWs, and suggest that such interventions, integrated with those targeted towards FSWs, can have a significant effect on sexual behaviour and STI prevalence (particularly gonorrhoea) among this population.
To determine changes in the prevalence of sexually transmitted infection (STI)/HIV in female sex workers (FSWs) after a community HIV prevention intervention project in five border provinces of Vietnam.
The project focused on providing user‐friendly STI services for FSWs using mobile teams operating at multiple sites depending on local client preferences. 911 FSWs were enrolled at baseline and 982 in the exit survey. Study participants were interviewed about sociodemographic characteristics, sexual behaviour, history of STIs and selected features of their husbands or cohabiting partners, and were tested for STIs.
The overall prevalence rates of HIV, syphilis, herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV‐2) antibodies, gonorrhoea (GC), Chlamydia trachomatis (CT), and GC and/or CT among FSWs in the five border provinces in 2004 were 3.6%, 12.9%, 24.9%, 2.9%, 9.1% and 11.3%, respectively. Compared with baseline values, GC and/or CT decreased significantly from 19.9% to 11.3%, GC from 10.7% to 2.9% and CT from 11.9% to 9.1%. HIV decreased from 4.5% to 3.6%, and HSV‐2 antibodies from 27.7% to 24.9%. After adjustment for possible confounders, a significant overall decrease in having GC and/or CT (OR = 0.46, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.65; p<0.001) and GC alone (OR = 0.22, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.37; p<0.001) was found, and the overall prevalence of syphilis increased significantly (OR = 1.55, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.17 p = 0.011). A marked increase in syphilis from 1.0% to 14.1% was identified in the Lai Chau province.
Implementation of the project was associated with a reduction in GC and/or CT infections in FSWs, more so with GC than with CT. A notable increase in syphilis in Lai Chau was identified. HIV/STI interventions in FSWs can be implemented by government services and should be intensified and expanded to other provinces.
Amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS) use has increased in Cambodia and emerged as a significant problem among female sex workers (FSWs), potentially contributing to increased risk of HIV. We examined the prevalence of ATS use and its effect on sexual risk behaviors, and sexually transmitted infections (STI) among FSWs in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
A one-year prospective study among young women engaged in sex work in brothels, entertainment establishments and on a freelance basis. Socio-demographics, sexual risks, and recent ATS use were assessed by self-report. Blood and urine samples were collected to detect HIV, Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC). Bivariate and multivariate longitudinal analyses were conducted to assess the effects of ATS use on number of sex partners, inconsistent condom use with paying partners and incident STI.
ATS use was higher among women working freelance (35.6%) and in brothels (34.8%) compared to women working in entertainment establishments (17.7%) or in multiple venues (14.8%). ATS users reported more sex partners and days drunk in the previous month. In multivariate longitudinal analysis, ATS use was associated with having a higher number of sex partners (Adjusted Risk Ratio 1.49; 95% CI: 1.00–2.21) and incident STI (Adjusted Odds Ratio 5.41; 95% CI: 1.15–25.48), but not inconsistent condom use with paying partner.
ATS users had more sex partners, high level of alcohol use, and were at increased risk of STI. Our findings underscore ATS use as an important emerging risk exposure that should be integrated into HIV prevention interventions targeting this population.
mphetamine-type stimulant; HIV/STI; Female sex workers; Cambodia; Risk behaviors
Understanding bridging behaviors of clients of female sex workers (FSWs) is important for projecting and intervening in the spread of sexually transmitted infections in Vietnam. The goals of the study were to determine HIV/STI prevalence amongst different bridging groups, identify factors associated with being potential and active bridgers, and assess the association of drug use and unsafe sex with HIV and/or STI prevalence. In April, 2007, 292 clients were anonymously interviewed at sex venues in a two-stage time-location cluster sampling survey, followed by HIV, syphilis, and HSV-2 testing. Based on condom use with both high-risk (FSWs) and low-risk (wives/girlfriends) sexual partners, clients were classified as unlikely, potential, or active bridgers. The majority of clients were potential or active bridgers (55.8%) who had a significantly higher prevalence of herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2) (21% and 33%, respectively) than unlikely bridgers (8.7%). HIV seropositivity was 4.4-fold (95% CI 1.1–17.1) higher among those who were HSV-2-positive. Clients of FSWs may be playing a major bridging role in transmitting HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Vietnam. An observed synergistic interaction between drug use and condom slippage/breakage emphasizes the importance of proper condom use, particularly among drug users.
Sexual behaviors; Condoms; Bridging; Drug use; Male clients; Female sex workers (FSWs); Risk factors; Sexually transmitted infections (STIs); HIV
Preliminary evidence has suggested that some transgender men who have sex with non-transgender men (“trans MSM”) may be at risk for HIV and STIs and that their prevention needs are not being met. Quantitative (n = 45) and qualitative (n =15) interviews explored risk behaviors, protective strategies, and perceptions of the impact of transgender identity on sexual decision-making among trans MSM. A majority of the participants reported inconsistent condom use during receptive vaginal and anal sex with non-trans male partners; HIV prevalence was 2.2%. Risk factors included barriers to sexual negotiation including unequal power dynamics, low self-esteem, and need for gender identity affirmation. Protective strategies included meeting and negotiating with potential partners online. Results of this study provide initial evidence that current risk behaviors could lead to rising HIV prevalence rates among trans MSM. Prevention programs must tailor services to include issues unique to trans MSM and their non-trans male partners.
gender identity; HIV/STI prevention; MSM; sexual risk; transgender men
Researchers are increasingly recognizing the importance of addressing sexual and drug-related HIV risk within the context of intimate relationships rather than solely focusing on individual behaviors. Practical and effective methods are needed to recruit, screen, and enroll the high risk and hard-to-reach couples who would most benefit from HIV interventions, such as drug-using female sex workers (FSWs) and their intimate, non-commercial partners. This paper outlines a bi-national, multidisciplinary effort to develop and implement a study protocol for research on the social context and epidemiology of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STI), and high risk behaviors among FSWs and their non-commercial male partners in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. We provide an overview of our study and specifically focus on the sampling, recruitment, screening, and successful enrollment of high risk couples into a public health study in this context.
We used targeted and snowball sampling to recruit couples through the female partner first and administered a primary screener to check her initial eligibility. Willing and eligible females then invited their primary male partners for couple-based screening using a couple verification screening (CVS) instrument adapted from previous studies. The CVS rechecked eligibility and separately asked each partner the same questions about their relationship to "test" if the couple was legitimate. We adapted the original protocol to consider issues of gender and power within the local cultural and socioeconomic context and expanded the question pool to create multiple versions of the CVS that were randomly administered to potential couples to determine eligibility and facilitate study enrollment.
The protocol successfully enrolled 214 high risk couples into a multi-site public health study. This work suggests the importance of collaborating to construct a study protocol, understanding the local population and context, and drawing on multiple sources of input to determine eligibility and verify the legitimacy of relationships. We provide a practical set of tools that other researchers should find helpful in the study of high risk couples in international settings, with particular relevance to studies of FSWs and their intimate partners.
Methods; Recruitment; Eligibility screening; Couple-based research; Female sex workers; Mexico