Background and Objectives: In two different studies, we evaluated the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) seroprevalence rate and the condom use in a group of female sex workers working in Italy. Study Design: In the first study we collected data on HIV serologic testing of female sex workers; in the second study, we evaluated the use of condoms and high-risk sexual practices by sex workers with their clients and nonpaying partners. Results: Overall, 131 of 802 (16%) were HIV positive: 36 of 558 (6%) professional sex workers and 95 of 244 (39%) sex workers who used intravenous drugs. There was a significant increase of seroprevalence among professional sex workers between 1988 to 1990 and 1991 to 1995 (2% versus 11%, P ≤ 0.001), whereas among the sex workers who used intravenous drugs, the increase was not significant (37% versus 40%, P = 0.70). Similarly, the HIV seroprevalence in the Italian professional sex workers is constant in the two periods of time (2% versus 1%). In the second study, 97 of 102 (95%) sex workers reported regular condom use with clients, whereas 63% of sex workers reported they never used them with nonpaying partners. Fourteen sex workers reported having nonpaying partners who used intravenous drugs and 6 reported having nonpaying bisexual partners; 8 of these 20 partners were HIV positive. Conclusion: The results of the first study showed a significant increase of seroprevalence among professional sex workers, whereas the high seroprevalence among sex workers who used intravenous drugs was constant. The results of the second study showed that sex workers may be at higher risk for HIV infection through noncommercial sexual intercourses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Microbiology (medical)