Changes in HIV/AIDS/STI knowledge, attitudes and practices among commercial sex workers and military forces in Port Loko, Sierra Leone

Disasters. 2004 Sep;28(3):239-54. doi: 10.1111/j.0361-3666.2004.00256.x.


Sierra Leone suffered from 11 years of civil war (1991-2002) resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and mutilations together with massive population displacement. In 2001, ARC International, Sierra Leone conducted a baseline survey of 201 commercial sex workers (CSWs) and 202 military respondents on the knowledge, attitudes and practices surrounding HIV/AIDS and STIs in Port Loko, Sierra Leone. In 2003, a comparable post-intervention survey of 202 CSWs and 205 military respondents was performed. Comparison of baseline and post-intervention results showed that HIV/AIDS knowledge increased among both groups, with those able to name three effective means of avoiding AIDS increasing from 5 per cent to 70 per cent among CSWs, and 11 to 75 per cent among the military. Reported condom use during last sex increased among CSWs from 38 to 68 per cent and among military from 39 to 68 per cent. These results demonstrate that, despite the challenges inherent in a post-conflict country, good-quality AIDS-prevention programmes can be effective.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel*
  • Refugees
  • Sex Work*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Sierra Leone
  • Warfare*