Objectives: To investigate the epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among female sex workers (FSWs) in Kaiyuan city, Yunnan province, China and to identify risk factors associated with STIs.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of 737 FSWs was carried out from March to May 2006 with confidential interviews and laboratory tests for STIs. Cumulative logit model was used to evaluate the risk factors for STIs.
Results: The overall prevalence of HIV is 10.3%. The prevalence of syphilis, Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2), Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and Trichomonas were 7.5%, 68.1%, 8.3%, 25.9%, 10.6%, respectively. In multivariate cumulative odds logistic analysis, the factors associated with STIs were education level, living in the entertainment location, injection drug use, non-injection drug use, over five clients in the previous week and inconsistent use of condoms with clients.
Conclusion: The findings highlight the gravity of the STI epidemic among FSWs in China, where sexual transmission has now overtaken unsafe injection practices as the dominant mode of HIV transmission. Targeted intervention programs for FSW should focus on increasing condom use, strengthening knowledge and awareness of STI/HIV, and encouraging routine screening and treatment seeking behaviors. Reducing the spread of STIs also has profound implications for the prevention of HIV.