Bridging populations-sexual risk behaviors and HIV prevalence in clients and partners of female sex workers, Bangkok, Thailand 2007
Shah, N.S.; Shiraishi, R.W.; Subhachaturas, W.; Anand, A.; Whitehead, S.J.; Tanpradech, S.; Manopaiboon, C.; Sabin, K.M.; Fox, K.K.; Kim, A.Y.
Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the new York Academy of Medicine 88(3): 533-544
The aim of this study is to estimate HIV prevalence and assess sexual behaviors in a high-risk and difficult-to-reach population of clients of female sex workers (FSWs). A modified variation of respondent-driven sampling was conducted among FSWs in Bangkok, where FSWs recruited 3 FSW peers, 1 client, and 1 nonpaying partner. After informed consent was obtained, participants completed a questionnaire, were HIV-tested, and were asked to return for results. Analyses were weighted to control for the design of the survey. Among 540 FSWs, 188 (35%) recruited 1 client, and 88 (16%) recruited 1 nonpaying partner. Clients' median age was 38 years. HIV prevalence was 20% and was associated with younger age at first sexual experience [relative risk (RR) = 3.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.16-8.24] and condom use during last sexual encounter with regular partner (RR = 3.97, 95% CI 1.09-14.61). Median age of nonpaying partners was 34 years, and HIV prevalence was 15.1%. There were 56 discordant FSW-client pairs and 14 discordant FSW-nonpaying partner pairs. Condom use was relatively high among discordant FSW-client pairs (90.1%) compared to discordant FSW-nonpaying partner pairs (18.7%). Results suggest that sexual partners of FSWs have a high HIV prevalence and can be a bridge for HIV transmission to other populations. Findings also highlight the importance of initiating surveillance and targeted programs for FSW partners, and demonstrate a recruitment method for hard-to-reach populations.