Beliefs, sexual behaviours and preventive practices with respect to HIV/AIDS among commercial sex workers in Daulatdia, Bangladesh

ArticleinPublic Health 119(5):371-81 · June 2005with41 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.43 · DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2004.08.015 · Source: PubMed


    Despite the rising prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) since 1994 in Bangladesh, the World Bank found the epidemic to be preventable provided vigorous and prompt action is taken. High-risk heterosexual contact, especially among commercial sex workers (CSWs), is a major mode of transmission. Formulation of relevant and effective prevention programmes for HIV/AIDS requires better understanding of the knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and practices in the high-risk groups.
    A cross-sectional survey comprising face-to-face interviews using a structured questionnaire with items on knowledge, beliefs, condom use and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
    In total, 300 CSWs were interviewed between July and October 2000 in Daulatdia brothel. Daulatdia is one of the largest river ports in Bangladesh.
    Although most CSWs had heard of AIDS, correct knowledge of transmission and symptoms was lacking. HIV/AIDS was viewed as a remote threat, over-ridden by immediate economic and survival concerns. Although the majority of CSWs knew that condoms afforded protection against STDs/AIDS, only one-third of sex acts on the last day of work were protected through condom use. CSWs who were married, had been a CSW for less than 5 years, were with a new client, or had two or more clients in last working day reported significantly higher condom use. Client dissatisfaction was the major reason for not using condoms. Many did not obtain treatment for STDs in a timely fashion, if at all.
    Bangladesh needs a comprehensive HIV programme that combines clinical and screening measures with behaviour change and communication interventions, along with change in social norms and attention to the rights of CSWs in order to avert a widespread epidemic.