Background and Objective: Alcohol use has been suggested to interfere with condom use and to increase sexual risk behaviors. However, data on the prevalence of this practice among female sex workers and its association with condom use and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are limited.
Methods: Data were collected through the baseline survey of an HIV prevention project among 454 establishment-based female sex workers in Guangxi, China, in 2004. Both global association and situational analysis were performed using 2 measures of alcohol use (alcohol intoxication and drinking alcohol before having sex with a client). Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the association of alcohol use with women's condom use and STIs.
Results: One-third of women reported being intoxicated with alcohol at least once a month during the previous 6 months, and about 30% reported using alcohol before having sex with clients. In comparison with women who did not use alcohol before engaging in sex with clients, women who did so reported significantly less consistent condom use and higher rates of both current STIs and a history of STI. However, alcohol intoxication was not associated with condom use and STIs. These findings indicate event-specific rather than global associations of alcohol use with inconsistent condom use and STIs.
Conclusion: Alcohol use before commercial sex is associated with unprotected sex and increased risk for STIs. Interventions that address both alcohol use and HIV risk behaviors in the context of commercial sex may have a great impact in preventing the spread of HIV in China.