Salud Pública de México
versión impresa ISSN 0036-3634
GUTIERREZ, Juan Pablo; MOLINA-YEPEZ, Diana; SAMUELS, Fiona y BERTOZZI, Stefano Michele. Inconsistent condom use among sexual workers in Ecuador: results from a behavior survey. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2006, vol.48, n.2, pp. 104-112. ISSN 0036-3634.
OBJECTIVE: Whilst existing data suggests that the HIV epidemic in Ecuador is concentrated amongst men who have sex with men (MSM), there is very little available information on the situation of key populations, i.e. those most at risk of HIV infection and/or transmitting the infection. In particular, there is very little known about sex workers (SWs), their rate of condom use and other behaviors and characteristics with respect to the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This study presents findings from a survey carried out with SWs in eight cities in Ecuador. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Using a cross-sectional design, a questionnaire focusing on behaviours, attitudes and socio-economic and demographic characteristics was administered to SWs in eight cities in Ecuador. These eight cities together account for the majority of the population in the country, and they were also identified as the locations with high reported levels of HIV. RESULTS: Information from a total of 2867 SWs was obtained, the majority were captured in their workplaces. Most of SWs interviewed carry out their activities in closed settings dedicated to sex work (i.e. not in the street). The average age of respondents was 28 (95%CI 27-29), and around half of them live with a male partner (married or not). The rate of condom use with the last client was 88% (82% consistently with the last three), whilst with regular partners it was 6%. A high index of life-skills, high socio-economic status and having an official document that allows them to work, were positively associated with condom use with clients (PR [CI 95%] 1.40 [1.40-1.40], 1.37 [1.36-1.37], y 7.26 [6.87-7.46], respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Whilst condom use with clients amongst Ecuadorian SWs is high, this diminishes if one analyzes consistent condom use and is notably low with respect to regular partners. Condom use appears to be related to variables that can be linked to interventions, e.g. life-skills and official permission to carry out sex work. It is, therefore, important to tailor interventions for this population so they maximize the likelihood to increase consistent condom use.
Palabras llave : sex work; prevention; sexually transmitted infections; HIV; Ecuador.