General health problems of inner-city sex workers: a pilot study

J Med Libr Assoc. 2003 Jan;91(1):67-71.


Objective: A pilot study was designed to determine the general health problems of inner city sex workers.

Sample: The researchers worked with an agency that provides outreach services to these sex workers. Through this agency, they had access to a purposive sample of sex workers in a large Midwest city.

Methods: Nonparticipant observation was used to gather information about their health problems, the nature of information they may need, and the barriers to obtaining health care and health information.

Results: Sex workers (N = 75) ranged in age from nineteen to sixty-one years old. They identified a number of physical or psychological problems, such as rape, depression, and tuberculosis. HIV/AIDS was never mentioned. A major barrier to health care is a lack of information about where to go for treatment or how to obtain health insurance.

Conclusions: More research needs to be done by library and information science professionals to determine the information needs of sex workers and the agencies that provide them with health and social services.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Morbidity / trends*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rape / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Urban Population*