Sexually-transmitted infections and risk factors in female sex workers in Buenos Aires, Argentina
S. Man1,2, S. Vaidya2,3, A. Rigitano2,4, D. Galimberti2, R. Sperling5, N. Henning2, M. Klotman6, D. Indyk2, A. Casiró3
1Hospital de Agudos Dr. T. Álvarez, Infectious Diseases, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2Fogarty International Research and Training Program, New York, United States, 3Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Program, New York, United States, 4Hospital de Agudos Dr. T. Álvarez, OB/GYN, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 5Mount Sinai School of Medicine, OB/GYN, New York, United States, 6Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Division Of Infectious Diseases, New York, United States
Background: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a major global health concern and have been associated with an increased risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. STIs are often concentrated and spread through groups such as female sex workers (FSWs), who have a high number of partners and poor healthcare-seeking behavior. This study aims to investigate the incidence of STIs among (FSWs) in Buenos Aires, Argentina and understand the risk factors for infection in this unique population.
Methods: FSWs who presented with a complaint of vaginal discharge to a women´s health clinic underwent a physical examination during which cervical swabs, lavages, and blood samples were collected and tested against a panel of STIs. Thirty subjects were also recruited to complete an anonymous questionnaire to obtain information about their socio-demographic, behavioral characteristics, and risk factors for STIs. Patients who were pregnant or had known HIV-positive status were excluded.
Results: Three-hundred and seventeen FSWs were screened for STIs. Amongst this population, the incidence of Trichomonas was 65% (206/317), Chlamydia was 34% (108/317), HPV was 31% (98/317), syphilis was 4% (12/317), and new diagnosis with HIV was 3% (10/317). No cases of active herpes or gonorrhea infection were detected. Analysis of socio-demographic and behavioral characteristics demonstrated that extreme risk taking behavior and low levels of education were prominent despite sufficient access to health care.
Conclusions: The prevalence of multiple STIs including Trichomonas, Chlamydia, and HPV is very high in FSWs in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lack of education and extreme risk taking behavior are key issues that must be addressed for effective prevention of STIs and HIV in this population.
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