Sexually Transmitted Infections and Sexual Behaviour Among Commercial Sex Workers in a Rural District of Malawi.
AffiliationMédecins sans Frontières - Luxembourg, Thyolo District, Malawi. Zachariah@internet.ln
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AbstractIn Thyolo District, Malawi, a study was conducted among commercial sex workers (CSWs) attending mobile clinics in order to; determine the prevalence and pattern of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), describe sexual behaviour among those who have an STI and identify risk factors associated with 'no condom use'. There were 1817 CSWs, of whom 448 (25%) had an STI. Of these, the commonest infections included 237 (53%) cases of abnormal vaginal discharge, 109 (24%) cases of pelvic inflammatory disease and 95 (21%) cases of genital ulcer disease (GUD). Eighty-seven per cent had sex while symptomatic, 17% without condoms. Having unprotected sex was associated with being married, being involved with commercial sex outside a known rest-house or bar, having a GUD, having fewer than two clients/day, alcohol intake and having had no prior medication for STI. The high levels of STIs, particularly GUDs, and unprotected sex underlines the importance of developing targeted interventions for CSWs and their clients.