XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Female sex workers in five Southern Moroccan cities

A. Benalla, M. Karkouri, L. Ouarsas, H. Himmich

ALCS, Casablanca, Morocco

Background: ALCS, first community NGO to fight AIDS in Morocco and MENA region, red ribbon awarded in Mexico 2008, runs, since 1991 outreach prevention program among Female Sex workers in several cities. This program includes information, condom distribution, and HIV/STI testing and comprehensive care. As this program is encountering more and more success, it was urgent to have sustainable socio-demographic, knowledge behavior and attitudes characteristics of FSWs, to extend it in southern Morocco where FSWs HIV prevalence is around 6%.
Methods: We conducted a cross sectional study included 220 FSWs from November 2007 to March 2008 in 5 southern Moroccan cities; a face to face questionnaire was completed.
Results: 59.6% of FSWs know about HIV transmission modes, but 44% know about male and female STI symptoms, 55% of them were aware of HIV prevention through correct and consistent condom use, however, only 0.5% of them had been exposed to prevention programs through NGOs or public health facilities. The average age of their first commercial sex is 17 years, and they reported a number of 3.8 commercial partners in the last working day. During the last sex contact with clients, 70.1% reported condom use, but only 29% of them use condom with their permanent partner. The common reason for condoms non -use was partner objection (56.8% of clients, and 44.4% of permanent partner).Injecting drug use in the last 12 months was reported by 4.5% of the sample. Alcohol consumption was common among 60.9%. 44.7% of surveyed FSWs have been HIV tested in ALCS VCT, but only 23.9% attended a public health facility to treat STI.
Conclusions: this study supports that FSWs have low access to prevention program facilities, which explain the low condom use, and STI knowledge's, an Expansion of specific prevention program is urgently needed based on FSWs needs and specificities.

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