A cross-sectional evaluation of the prevalence and associations of HIV among female sex workers in the Gambia

Sarah Peitzmeier, Krystal Mason, Nuha Ceesay, Daouda Diouf, Fatou Drame, Jaegan Loum, Stefan Baral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


To determine HIV prevalence among female sex workers in the Gambia and HIV risk factors, we accrued participants (n = 251) through peer-referral and venue-based recruitment. Blood samples were screened for HIV and participants were administered a questionnaire. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression identified factors associated with HIV status. Forty respondents (15.9%) were HIV-positive: 20 (8.0%) were infected with HIV-1 only, 10 (4.0%) with HIV-2 only, and 10 (4.0%) with both HIV-1 and HIV-2; 12.5% (n = 5/40) knew their status. Condom usage at last sex was 97.1% (n = 170/175) with new clients and 44.2% (n = 53/120) with non-paying partners. Having a non-paying partner, living with relatives or friends, having felt scared to walk in public, selling sex in multiple locations, and recent depressive symptoms were positively associated with HIV under multivariate regression. Female sex workers have a higher prevalence of HIV compared to the general Gambian population. Interventions should be rights-based, promote safer sex practices and regular testing for female sex workers and linkage to HIV treatment and care with adherence support for those living with HIV. In addition, service providers should consider non-paying partners of female sex workers, improve knowledge and availability of condoms and lubricant, and address safety and mental health needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • AIDS
  • Gambia
  • HIV
  • HIV prevalence
  • HIV risk
  • Treponema pallidum
  • condom use
  • epidemiology
  • female sex worker
  • sexual risk behaviour
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • syphilis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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