Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Clients of Female Sex Workers in Gonaives and St-Marc, Haiti Characteristics, Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevalence and Risk Factors

Couture, Marie-Claude MSc*; Soto, Julio C. MD, PhD*; Akom, Edit MD; Labbé, Annie-Claude MD; Joseph, Gerard MD, MPH§; Zunzunegui, Maria-Victoria PhD*

doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e318177ec5c

Background: Few data exist on the role of clients of female sex workers (FSWs) in STI transmission. This study examined sociodemographic characteristics, risk behaviors, and STI prevalence among clients of FSWs in Haiti.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey among clients of FWSs (n = 378). Clients were recruited by collaborating local FSWs directly on commercial sex sites. Dried blood spot samples were used to determine prevalence of HIV, syphilis, and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2).

Results: Of the respondents, 88% were younger than 30 years, and 60.7% were living with a partner. Fifty-nine percent of clients reported always using condoms with FSWs, 32.8% did so with their stable partners, and 44.9% with casual partners. Clients had a high number of partners; 39.9% had 10 or more within the previous 3 months. The prevalence of HIV-1, previous or active syphilis, and HSV-2 was 7.2%, 13.4%, and 22%, respectively. Multivariate analysis indicated that clients who had tried marijuana, were practicing Voodoo, had a history of STI or were infected with HSV-2 were more often HIV-positive. Living in Gonaives, not being Protestant, being employed, and having tried marijuana were associated with syphilis infection. Older clients, residents of Gonaives and Voodoo practitioners were more likely to be infected with HSV-2.

Conclusion: STI prevalence was remarkably high among clients of FSWs. These men had many sex partners and condom use differed, depending on the category of partner. Clients of FSWs likely act as a bridge population, facilitating the spread of STI throughout the general population in Haiti, and should be targeted in prevention programs.

A study among clients of sex workers in Haiti found a high STI prevalence and number of sex partners. Condom use was inconsistent and varied with the type of partners.

From the *Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada; †Centre de Coopération Internationale en Santé et Développement, Québec, Canada; ‡Département de microbiologie, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montréal, Canada; and §Projet d’Appui à la Lutte contre les ITS/VIH/SIDA, St-Marc, Haïti

Correspondence: Marie-Claude Couture, MSc, Département de médecine sociale et preventive, Université de Montréal, 1430 Boulevard du Mont Royal, Montreal, QC, H2V 4P3, Canada. E-mail:

Received for publication November 21, 2007, and accepted March 27, 2008.

© Copyright 2008 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association