XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Population size estimates for female sex workers in six cities in Guatemala

S. Morales, L.F. Ramirez

Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, HIV, Guatemala, Guatemala

Background: Female sex workers (FSW) are highly vulnerable to HIV infection, but this population can be particularly difficult to reach in Guatemala due to stigma and violence. We aimed to estimate the size of FSW, in six cities in Guatemala, in order to support and strengthen the planning strategies for HIV prevention. To date there are no published estimates for FSW in Guatemala.
Methods: We conducted census/enumeration in Quetzaltenango, Escuintla, Mazatenango, Puerto Barrios and Cobán. Exhaustive lists of all the sites where sex work is conducted. Four interviews were conducted on each site, two to people linked to the sites of sex work and two to the study population. In the census estimate, all the sites identified during the mapping were included. In order to use the enumeration method, a sample had to be obtained using the PPS (proportional probability size) sampling method.In order to make the estimate by city, the minimums and maximums were added and the average was obtained.
In Guatemala City 154 sites of sex work were identified during the mapping, 38 in Escuintla, 20 in Quetzaltenango, 20 in Mazatenango, 14 in Puerto Barrios and 4 in Cobán. In total 243 sex workers were interviewed, 59% informed that they had been working at the interview site from 1 to 21 years. In total 243 sex workers were interviewed. Guatemala City has the highest number of sex workers (3940 to 5801), followed by Escuintla (278 to 414), Quetzaltenango (159 to 325), Mazatenango (82 to 182), Puerto Barrios (72 to 104) and Cobán (39 to 43).
Conclusion: This is the first study estimating the size of the population of female sex workers in Guatemala. It covers the visible population at sex work sites. It is necessary to extend this estimation exercise to other cities in order to obtain a national estimate.

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