7th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2013)


WEPDC0103 - Poster Discussion Abstract

Are street-based female sex workers a decent representative of brothel-based ones? A national cross sectional study in Iran

Presented by Razieh Khajehkazemi (Iran, Islamic Republic of).

R. Khajehkazemi1, M. Karamouzian1, A.A. Haghdoost2

1Regional Knowledge Hub for HIV/AIDS Surveillance, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran, Islamic Republic of, 2Research Center for Modeling in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran, Islamic Republic of

Background: Considering the legal status of sex-work varying from country to country, it can be assumed that brothel-based FSWs in countries with strict laws against prostitution, including Iran, are likely to become a hard-to-reach population. In Iran, FSWs are assumed to be mainly street-based; however, there is no data on the number of brothels and FSWs working in them. On the other hand, it is widely assumed that different categories of FSWs may be at different levels of risks. This paper aims to see if findings of studies on street-based FSWs are comparable or generalizable to those of brothel-based ones.
Methods: Using facility-based sampling, we recruited 872 FSWs from 14 provinces of Iran in 2010. We used available active facilities including drop-in-centers, harm reduction centers and shelters to recruit FSWs. Data was collected using a standardized behavioral questionnaire after receiving verbal informed consent. Data were entered into EpiData (version.3.1) and analyzed by stata (version.10).
Results: We identified three major categories regarding the possible ways of client finding among our participants; brothel-based (8%), street-based (45%), and independent FSWs, often called call girls (47%). We observed no significance difference among the categories regarding basic demographic characteristics as well as high risk behaviors (Table 1).
Table 1: Selected demographic and risk behaviors among FSWs by the possible ways of client finding

Table 1
[Table 1]

Conclusion: We observed no major difference among our groups which provides us with a valuable message. We assume that street-based FSWs who are the easiest-to-reach category of FSWs in Islamic countries, can act as a decent representatives of other categories. This means that if we approach them correctly we may rest assured that our interventions will affect the whole population of FSWs effectively. This finding is of high importance, particularly in Islamic countries with such hidden populations of FSWs.

Back to the Programme-at-a-Glance