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East Mediterr Health J. 2012 Sep;18(9):920-7.

HIV infection and related risk behaviours among female sex workers in greater Cairo, Egypt.

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Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt.


Although illegal in Egypt, prostitution exists. The prevalence of HIV infection among female sex workers (FSWs) in Cairo is not precisely known. This cross-sectional study investigated the high-risk behaviour for HIV infection and HIV prevalence among FSWs in greater Cairo. A total of 431 FSWs were interviewed about their sexual history with paid and unpaid partners, condom use and risky behaviour for HIV infection; all were tested for HIV. Use of alcohol and drugs was reported by 39.9% and 49.0% of the women respectively; 37.6% only used such substances while with a client. Male condoms were known by 72.6% but their use in the previous month was low (32.8%) and only 22.4% had used one with their last client. The main reasons for not using condoms were not thinking of it (40.6%) and client refusal (20.5%). All the women tested negative for HIV infection. The high-risk behaviour of many FSWs necessitates intervention programmes to reduce their risk of HIV infection.

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