Table 1

Characteristics of included studies

IncomeCountryData collectedOutcomeRecruitment siteLocationDefinitionMigrantsNon-migrantsAge (all)Primary aimReference
HighUK2008–2009HIV STI* behaviouralSpecialist sexual health services, flats, saunas, social networksFlats, saunasExchanged sex for drugs, good or money in last 4 weeks16310526 (IQR: 22–35)Yes33
Spain2000HIVHIV/STI clinicNo informationNo information179733129.2Yes30
Spain1989–1991HIVCollaborating centre and snowball sampleBrothels, bar, streetSelf-identified sex work for money at least once in last year40466329.8 (14–74)No32
Spain2000–2001HIVSTI clinicsNo informationNo information260752329.2 (SD=7.6)No29
Italy1988–1994HIVHIV testing clinicNo informationProfessional defined as non-IDU136593No informationYes35
Italy1991–1995HIVSTI and infectious disease clinicNo informationProfessional defined as non-IDU, but includes IDUs176223Median=37 (21–55)No34
Portugal2000–2001HIVClinic and streetStreetNo information5442No infoNo31
The Netherlands1991HIVSTI clinics brothels, hotelsIndoorReceived money or goods in exchange for sex at least once in past 6 months1297229 (SD=7)No36
Australia1991–1993HIV STI† BehaviouralSpecialist sexual health clinic for sex workersNo informationNo information12391Migrant=25.3 Non-migrant=25.5Yes37
Australia1990–2005BehaviouralSexual health care centre and primary health care centre for sex workersParlour, private arrangement, escorts, workersSelf-identification and assessment by staff14814116–25 years migrant=46% non-migrant=50%Yes23
Hong Kong2004–5BehaviouralSpecialist sexual health clinicStreet and indoorNo information7517035.8 (SD=6.04)No43
Hong Kong2005–2007Behavioural STI‡Specialist sexual health clinicStreet and indoorNo information4069726–30 years 11%Yes42
Upper-middleArgentina2000–2002HIV/STI§ BehaviouralWorkStreet, bar and cabaretUNAIDS definition16945618–24 yrs Mig=18.4% Non=24.3%Yes47
Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay1999–2002HIV, STI¶
WorkNo informationUNAIDS definition1851660No dataYes46
Mexico1998HIV, STI**BarsNo informationIdentified by bar managers and health authorities36312125.5Yes48
Mexico2004–2005HIV STI††Municipal and community health clinics, via street outreach, and by referrals from other FSWsStreet, clubs, barsSex work and unprotected vaginal sex with client once in last 2 months37010160% (18–34)Yes24
Turkey1993Syphilis markers‡‡STI clinicNo informationRegistered sex workers and women arrested for not being registered9688No dataUnclear28
Lower-middleCameroon1995–1996HIVOutreach workers in community referred women to three clinics (family planning clinic, STI and community clinic)Bars, homeHaving at least four different sex partners per month145380825.5No26
China2004Any STI§§
WorkIndoorsSelf-identified15126423.5 (SD=5.1)Yes38
China1998–1999HIVHospital and via outreach to working locationsBars, hotels, hair dressing salons, beauty parloursNo information13583125 (SD=5)No40
Thailand1992HIVSTI clinic and work placesIndoorsBrothels (direct workers) bars, massage parlours, karaoke clubs (indirect)5167248% (383) <20 yearsNo41
Thailand1991–1994HIVSTI clinic and work placesIndoorsNo information3746323.6 (mean)No39
Kenya1985HIVSTI clinicMissingNo information3991929.2 (SD=6.5)No27
LowEthiopia1998HIVSTI clinic set up for researchIndividual, shared rooms, bars, streetKnown to health staff as being sex workers2908257% <24 yearsNo44
Mali1995HIVWorkStreetNo info948228.8 (15–50)No45
Benin1993, 1995, 1999HIV STI¶¶
Specialist STI clinic for sex workersNo informationNo information46113028.4No25
  • The UNAIDS definition of a female sex worker is a woman who receives money or goods in exchange for sexual services, either regularly or occasionally, and who may or may not consciously define those activities as income generating.

  • *Antibodies to T. pallidum, chlamydia and/or Gonorrhoea.

  • †Chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease, clinical genital herpes, chronic hepatitis B virus and syphilis (all stages).

  • ‡Syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia.

  • §Syphilis, and hepatitis B and C.

  • Treponema pallidum, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, herpes simplex virus 2 and hepatitis B.

  • **Treponema pallidum, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, herpes simplex virus 2 and hepatitis B.

  • ††Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, syphilis or any STI.

  • ‡‡Includes past infection, early latent, late latent syphilis.

  • §§Gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, syphilis and genital warts.

  • ¶¶Syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia.

  • EIA, enzyme immunoassay; FSW, female sex worker(s); IDU, injecting drug user; STI, sexually transmitted infections; UNAIDS, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.