Risk Perceptions, Prevention and Treatment Seeking for Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS among Female Sex Workers in Kano, Nigeria

We examined the risk perceptions, prevention and treatment seeking for HIV/AIDS/STIs of 124 female commercial sex workers from 52 randomly selected brothels in Kano, Nigeria using a descriptive cross sectional design. We analysed the data using Epi Info® 3.5.1. The mean age of the sex workers was 26.4 ± 1.9 years, and most were indigenous Hausas (33.9%), single (50.8%) and had at least secondary school level of education (51.7%). Majority perceived that unprotected sexual intercourse (96.0%) is the commonest risk factor associated with STIs and HIV/AIDs acquisition. Surprisingly, 25.8% did not believe that any method protect against STIs and HIV/AIDS. The most common symptom reported was perineal itching (53.6%); and 60.7% with the symptoms continued to have unprotected sex. Alarmingly, 29.6% of the sex workers were HIV positive, and all continued with unprotected sexual intercourse with clients. Despite the sex workers’ good perception and knowledge of HIV/AIDS/STIs prevention, they demonstrated unhealthy sex behaviour and treatment seeking. We recommend a peer education package that targets the workers and their clients, with focus on reducing risk behaviours associated with STIs and HIV transmission, safer sex; and treatment seeking.

 

Theme: 
Health and HIV
Author: 
UM Lawan, S Abubakar, Aisha Ahmed