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Goldsmiths - University of London

'Risky business: health and safety in the sex industry over a 9 year period'

Day, Sophie E.; Ward, H. and Weber, J. 1999. 'Risky business: health and safety in the sex industry over a 9 year period'. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 75(5), pp. 340-343. ISSN 1368-4973 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

OBJECTIVES: To assess whether a previously established low sexually transmitted infection/HIV risk in prostitutes in London has been sustained, and to measure other occupational risks, including mortality. DESIGN: 9 year prospective study in west London. SUBJECTS: 402 prostitutes recruited from 1985 to 1991, 320 were followed up for 675 person years to 1994. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Condom use in commercial and non-commercial sex; viral and bacterial sexually transmitted infection at initial and follow up visits; death. RESULTS: Condom use increased significantly from 1986 to 1993 and protected the majority of commercial sexual contacts. Baseline prevalence: HIV 1.3%, hepatitis C 6.7%, hepatitis B 6.6%, syphilis 2.3%, HTLV-I/II 0.4%, gonorrhoea 3.0%, chlamydia 8.2%, genital herpes 16.8%. Incidence (per 100 person years): HIV 0.2, hepatitis C 0.3, gonorrhoea 5.6, chlamydia 12.6, genital herpes 6.5. Viral infections were associated with injecting drug use and non-British nationality; bacterial infections were associated with numbers of non-commercial partners but not with sexual contacts at work. Four women died during the course of the study; two had AIDS, two were murdered. This mortality of 5.93 per 1000 person years was 12 times the expected rate for women of a similar age. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that it is possible to have a larger number of sexual partners and remain free from sexually transmitted infections provided that condoms are used consistently: there has been a sustained increase in condom use in the sex industry. None the less, prostitutes are at increased risk of sexually transmitted infections, primarily through non-commercial sexual partnerships. Infectious diseases are only one of the risks facing prostitutes, as illustrated by the mortality from violence as well as from HIV infection.

Item Type: Article

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Anthropology

Dates:

DateEvent
1999Published

Item ID:

11764

Date Deposited:

22 Jun 2015 10:24

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2017 11:12

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/11764
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