Introduction Suitable populations to sustain continued evaluation of HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention interventions are required. We sought to determine whether fishermen are a suitable population for HIV intervention trials.
Methods In a cross-sectional descriptive survey, we selected 250 fishermen from proportional to size sampled boats. We collected socioeconomic and behavioural information, and specimens for HIV, herpes simplex virus (HSV-2), syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and human papillomavirus (HPV) tests from consenting participants.
Results One third of the fishermen had concurrent sexual partnerships and two thirds were involved in transactional sex. About 70% were involved in extramarital sex with only one quarter using condoms in their three most recent sexual encounters. HIV prevalence was 26% and HSV-2 and HPV was 57%. Over 98% were willing to participate in a future HIV prevention clinical trial.
Conclusion Fishermen are a high-risk group for HIV/STI infections that may be suitable for HIV prevention trials. A cohort study would be useful to measure the incidence of HIV/STIs to ultimately determine the feasibility of enrolling this population in an HIV/STI prevention clinical trial.