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Int J STD AIDS. 2005 Nov;16(11):744-8.

Male sex workers in Antwerp, Belgium: a descriptive study.

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Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium.


The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STI), sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics in a population of male sex workers (MSW) in Antwerp, Belgium. Between September 1999 and March 2004, 129 MSW were reached by Gh@pro, an outreach programme providing preventive health care, free STI check-up and hepatitis B vaccination, to sex workers (SW). Sera were collected from 121 men, urine samples from 115 men and a questionnaire was filled in by 43 MSW. In 45.5% of MSW one or more STI were diagnosed (including hepatitis B), 76% on laboratory testing at first screening, 9% through symptomatology at first visit. The prevalence of HIV was 10.8%, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection 28.9%, syphilis 12.5%, gonorrhoea 1.7% and Chlamydia trachomatis 9.7%. More than 50% of non-immune MSW completed their three-dose hepatitis B vaccination course. Prevalence of STI is concordant with published data on MSW; this population clearly requests and deserves particular attention and approach. There is an important difference in sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics between MSW working in the red light district and those working on the street. Health promotion should be tailored to the different subpopulations and outreach appears to be a successful tool.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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