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P18.14 Sex worker outreach screening in western sydney; early identification of a high- risk population
  1. R Varma,
  2. M Ma,
  3. J Walsh,
  4. M Power,
  5. A Rochford
  1. Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Parramatta, Sydney


Introduction The Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) serves a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) population. Sex workers (SW) from this community may not access health care facilities or be aware of sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention strategies. We describe a tailored outreach screening of female SW in WSLHD.

Methods A trained health care interpreter (Mandarin) assisted in face- to- face consultations and self collected written sexual history; registered nurses provided weekly screening for STIs and blood borne viruses (BBV) in brothels from July 2014–March 2015.

Results 133 SW, comprising 10 different nationalities, at 28 different commercial venues were screened. 38/133 (28.6%) were new clients to our service. 65/133 (48.9%) were born in China, followed by 33/133 (22.5%) Thai and 17/133 (12.8%) Australasian. Mean age 41.6, 29.4 and 32 years for Chinese, Thai and Australasian born SW respectively. 30/133 (22.4%) had been in Australia for less than 12 months, 45/133 (31.6%) unknown duration. 19/133 (14.3%) reported being a SW for less than 6 months, 42/133 (31.3%) for 12 months or less, 35/133 (26.3%) unknown.

20/133 (15%) and 50/133 (37.6%) of SW reported less than 100% condom use for vaginal sex and oral sex with clients respectively. 31/50 (62%) of SW reporting inconsistent condom use for oral sex were from China.

14/133 (10.5%) denied previous HIV screening. 21% of SW were diagnosed with an STI including: gonorrhoea 12/133 (9%, four SW had multi-site infection), chlamydia 14/133 (10.4%, four SW had multi- site infections), chronic hepatitis B (5%) and 2% syphilis. No HIV diagnoses were made.

Conclusion This outreach initiative has identified a significant population of potentially vulnerable SW from SE Asian countries with high rates of unsafe sexual practice and STIs. This predominantly Mandarin speaking population may not access existing health promotion and screening services; a targeted, ongoing outreach is warranted.

Disclosure of interest statement No disclosures.

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