Objective: To understand the types of entertainment establishments involved in commercial sex and Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) related risk behaviors among sex workers.
Methods: One district in Shanghai was selected. All entertainment establishments in the district were mapped. In-depth interview was carried out to collect information about demographic, sexual, drug use, measures of self-protection, condom use, history with sexually transmitted disease (STD) and health care seeking behaviors.
Results: Sixty-three sex workers were recruited from 38 places, of which, 38 from beauty parlors, 13 from pubs/bars and sauna settings, 10 from KTV and 2 freelance. The average age was 25 (17-45) years old. 73% were not permanent residents. Thirty-seven had reportedly engaged in commercial sex activities. Some reportedly had sex even during menstruation and involved in-group sex. Five drug users and 3 of them reported injecting and sharing needles. Ten of them knew that other sex workers had used drugs. Sixteen (25%) reportedly using condoms but only 4 for disease prevention. Another 2 reported consistent condom use with clients but never used with boyfriends or steady partners. Twenty-two (35%) reported suffering from STDs at least once. Twenty-six (41%) reported seeking care when having diseases, with 38% going to public clinics, 27% to pharmacy and 35% to private clinics.
Conclusion: AIDS related sexual and drug injecting high-risk behaviors were common among sex workers in Shanghai. Specific and effective interventions, particularly the implementation of 100% condom use program at all entertainment establishments are called with much urgency.