Trends in HIV prevalence and associated risk behaviors in female sex workers in Catalonia,Spain

Cross-sectional studies were conducted biennially among 400 SW recruited in Catalonia (Spain) in the street, flats and clubs.   In addition to an anonymous questionnaire, oral fluid samples were collected to estimate HIV prevalence. 

The percentage of SW who used condoms inconsistently with clients (past 6 months) increased from 5.1% in 2005 to 9.9% in 2011; this percentage also increased with steady partners (86.2% in 2005 to 94.4% in 2011.The prevalence of self-reported sexually transmitted infections (STI) increased from 14% in 2005 to 20.6% in 2011. The prevalence of HIV held constant over the years (about 2%), being higher in Spanish women (14.7% in 2011).

The prevalence of HIV in SW remained stable over the years, being higher in Spanish SW. The increase in unprotected sex and in the prevalence of self-reported STI among SW from 2005 to 2011 highlights a possible relaxation in preventive behaviors in this group. Interventions to reduce the transmission of these infections, as well as unwanted pregnancies, should continue in Catalonia in SW.

Year of publication: 
Health and HIV
C Folch and others