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J Immigr Minor Health. 2006 Oct;8(4):319-23.

Prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among Colombian and Dominican female sex workers living in Catania, Eastern Sicily.

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  • 1Italian League for the Fight Against AIDS-Catania LILA-Catania, via Sanfilippo 10, 95100, Catania, Italy.



STDs are a significant cause of illness throughout the world. Female sex workers (FSWs) are commonly perceived as belonging to a social group which may engage in high-risk behaviour for acquiring or transmitting HIV and other STDs. The number of immigrant women engaged in sex work has increased in Catania, Sicily, over the last 10 years. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis among Colombian and Dominican FSWs.


In total 118 (63.78%) of the FSWs contacted in the course of the project agreed to participate in the study. All women enrolled were counselled on STDs/HIV, safer sex practices and the use of condoms. Blood samples were taken and tested for HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis.


Of the 118 FSWs enrolled, all were negative for both HIV and HCV infection. Two women (1.6%) were positive for hepatitis B (HbsAg). Syphilis testing by VDRL showed three positive results (2.5%), which was confirmed by TPHA.


This study showed that HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis seroprevalence among Colombian and Dominican FSWs remains low or very rare. It also indicates that these women were healthy when they arrived in Italy and that condom use with clients is high.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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