The pattern of sex work in Thailand has shifted substantially over the last two decades from direct commercial establishments to indirect venues and non-venue-based settings. This respondent-driven sampling survey was conducted in Bangkok in 2007 among female sex workers (FSW) in non-venue-based settings to pilot a new approach to surveillance among this hidden population. Fifteen initial participants recruited 707 consenting participants who completed a behavioural questionnaire, and provided oral fluid for HIV testing, and urine for sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing.
Overall HIV prevalence was 20.2%. Three-quarters of women were street-based (75.8%) who had an especially high HIV prevalence (22.7%); about 10 times higher than that found in routine sentinel surveillance among venue-based FSW (2.5%). STI prevalence (Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae) was 8.7% and 1.0%, respectively. Lower price per sex act and a current STI infection were independently associated with HIV infection.
High HIV prevalence found among FSW participating in the survey, particularly non-venue-based FSW, identifies need for further prevention efforts. In addition, it identifies a higher-risk segment of FSW not reached through routine sentinel surveillance but accessible through this survey method.
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By: Manopaiboon C1, Prybylski D, Subhachaturas W, Tanpradech S, Suksripanich O, Siangphoe U, Johnston LG, Akarasewi P, Anand A, Fox KK, Whitehead SJ.
1Global AIDS Program, Thailand/Asia Regional Office, Thailand MOPH-U.S. CDC Collaboration, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthabhuri.
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