Objectives: To analyse the prevalence of lifetime recourse to prostitution [LRP] among men in the general population of Switzerland from a trend and cohort perspective.
Methods: Using nine repeated representative cross-sectional surveys from 1987 to 2000, we computed age-specific estimates of LRP. Trends and period effect were analysed as evolution of cross-sectional population estimates within age groups and overall. Cohort analysis relied on cohorts constructed from the 1989 survey and followed in subsequent waves. Age and cohort effects were modelised using logistic regression and nonparametric monotone regression
Results: Whereas prevalence for the younger groups was found to be logically lower, there was no consistent increasing or decreasing trend along the years: there was no significant period effect. For the 17-30 year olds, the mean estimate over 1987-2000 was 11.5% (range: 8.3%; 12.7%); for the 31-45 year olds, the mean was 21.5% (range over 1989-2000: 20.3%; 23.0%). Regarding cohort analysis, prevalence of LRP was found to increase steeply in the youngest ages before reaching a plateau near the age of 40. At the age of 43, the prevalence was estimated to be 22.6% (95% confidence interval: 21.1%-24.1%).
Conclusions: The steep increase in cohort-wise prevalence of LRP in younger ages calls for a concentration of prevention activities in young people. If the plateauing at about age 40 is not followed by a further increase later in life, which we don't know, then consumers of paid sex would be repeat buyers only, a fact that should be taken into account by prevention.
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