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AIDS Care. 1993;5(3):321-35.

Female streetworker--prostitutes in Glasgow: a descriptive study of their lifestyle.

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Department of Infection & Tropical Medicine, Ruchill Hospital, Glasgow.


The objective of this study is to describe the lifestyle of a group of female prostitutes. The collection of information was achieved by: (i) using a self administered questionnaire; and (ii) conducting conversational type interviews. Of 85 women attending a health care drop-in centre for female street prostitutes in Glasgow, 63 completed the questionnaire and 72 participated in conversational interviews. For 63 women the mean age of commencement of prostitution was 21 years. Fifty-one (81%) were injecting drug users, their most commonly used drugs being heroin and temazepam. They worked a mean of 5.5 evenings per week and provided sexual services to a mean of 6.4 clients per working day. Less than half of these services were estimated to be vaginal intercourse. While 59/60 women indicated that they always used condoms during vaginal intercourse, this only applied to commercial sex; only 8/47 (17%) always used condoms with their regular sexual partners. Unconventional sexual services, e.g. voyeurism and physical abuse, were commonly provided and clients were often violent. A typical female streetworking-prostitute in Glasgow was aged 25, unemployed, an injecting drug user and had commenced prostitution 4 years before. Her knowledge of HIV/AIDS was good and for vaginal intercourse she almost always used condoms with clients, though probably not with her regular partner. Her main concern was likely to be violence from clients.

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