Introduction Sex workers are heightened risk of HIV/AIDS because of their risky sexual behaviour. In Nigeria, the number of sex workers living with HIV is eight times higher than the general population. HIV counselling and testing (HCT) is important in reducing spread of HIV and serves as an entry point to care. The study aimed at understanding the factors that influences sex workers patronage of HCT services in the study area.
Methods The study was conducted in October 2016 among 150 brothel-based Female Sex Workers (FSWs) purposively selected across three randomly selected local government areas representing the three senatorial districts in Lagos, Nigeria. The result was processed through SPSS 16.0. A binary logistic regression model was used in understanding the predictors of HIV testing among the sex workers.
Results The mean age of sex workers was 28 years. Findings showed a high prevalence of risky behaviour with about two-third (65.3%) consumed alcohol and 42% sometimes engaged in unprotected sex. Majority (86%) had gone for HIV testing prior to the survey but only seven in every ten went for HCT within six months prior to the study. Results from the binary logistic regression showed that sex workers education and length of practicing sex work exert a statistical significance on the patronage of HIV testing (p<0.05). Sex workers that do not engage in unprotected sex are less likely to patronise HCT (OR 0.53) than those that sometimes have unprotected sex while sex workers that are not aware of HCT centres are less likely (OR 0.85) to patronise HCT services.
Conclusion Findings demonstrate high risky sexual behaviour that exposes the FSWs to HIV infection. While a significant number of the sex workers have accessed HCT services at some point, many did not patronise within six months to the study. Though many attested to regular visit of NGOs involved in HCT testing in their brothels, there is still need for these NGOs to work with brothel managers. There is also an imperative for sexuality education to reduce high risky behaviour such as unprotected sex.