Off-street sex workers and their use of genitourinary medicine services

Int J STD AIDS. 2000 Sep;11(9):592-3. doi: 10.1258/0956462001916588.


Our objective was to identify barriers to the use of genitourinary medicine (GUM) services for off-street female sex workers in a provincial city, using self-administered anonymous questionnaires distributed to premises during outreach sessions by a clinic health adviser. Questionnaires were completed by 85 (56%) of the estimated 150 women working in the 13 targeted premises. The main obstacles to service use were the length of time spent in clinic (83%), dislike of needles (28%), difficulty getting to clinic (18%) and dislike of examinations (16%). The majority (71%) rejected sex worker-only sessions. Women using the local service, which provided outreach sessions, were more likely to have disclosed their occupation to the service (82% vs 36%; P=0.035). GUM clinics may optimize their accessibility to sex workers by minimizing the time required per visit, and introducing non-invasive screening methods where possible. Outreach visits by clinic staff may encourage women to disclose their occupation, enabling them to assess vaccinations for hepatitis B.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / supply & distribution
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Work*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Urban Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Health Services / supply & distribution
  • Women's Health