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AIDS Care. 2010 Jun;22(6):659-68. doi: 10.1080/09540120903431314.

Prevalence of psychological problems and relationships with condom use and HIV prevention behaviors among Chinese female sex workers in Hong Kong.

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Centre for Health Behaviours Research, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. <>


The present study investigated the prevalence of psychological problems and their relationships with relevant HIV prevention behaviors among female sex workers (FSWs). An anonymous cross-sectional survey was conducted. With a mapping exercise, 293 Chinese FSWs were recruited from a red-light district in Hong Kong. Results showed high prevalence of psychological problems among FSWs: substance use (40.4%), probable depression (53.9%), self-harm tendencies (34-38%), poor self-esteem (48-52%), and pessimistic future outlook (46-47%). Inconsistent condom use was common (51% with clients, 23% with one-night-stand sex partner, and 73% with boyfriends). Over 70% had not used HIV-related prevention services in the last 6 months. Multivariate analyses indicated that psychological problems were significantly associated with inconsistent condom use and non-use of prevention services. The poor psychological well-beings of FSWs have important public health implications. Relevant professional services should be provided and integrated with HIV prevention efforts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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