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Sex Transm Infect. 2013 Nov;89 Suppl 3:iii37-40. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2013-051028.

HIV prevalence and related risk behaviours among female sex workers in Iran: results of the national biobehavioural survey, 2010.

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Regional Knowledge Hub, and WHO Collaborating Centre for HIV Surveillance, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, , Kerman, Iran.



To determine the prevalence of HIV and related behavioural risks among Iranian female sex workers (FSW) via the first national biobehavioural surveillance survey.


In 2010, 1005 FSW were approached and 872 recruited using facility-based sampling from 21 sites in 14 cities in Iran. We collected dried blood samples and conducted face-to-face interviews using a standardised questionnaire. Data were weighted based on the response rate and adjusted for the clustering effect of the sampling site. Adjustment was performed by weighting based on the sampling fraction of each site using a prior estimate of its total size of the FSW population.


The prevalence of HIV infection (95% CI) was 4.5% (2.4 to 8.3) overall, 4.8% (2.2 to 9.8) among those who had reported a history of drug use and 11.2% (5.4 to 21.5) among those who had a history of injection drug use. The frequencies of condom use in the last sexual act with paying clients and non-paying partners were 57.1% and 36.3%, respectively. Any drug use was reported by 73.8% of participants, and among this subgroup, 20.5% had a history of injection drug use.


The prevalence of HIV was considerable among FSW particularly those who had a history of drug injection. A combination of prevention efforts addressing unsafe sex and injection are needed to prevent further transmission of HIV infection.


Condoms; Drug Misuse; HIV

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