Changing behaviors and patterns among Cambodian sex workers: 1997-2003

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2006 Jun;42(2):242-7. doi: 10.1097/01.qai.0000214817.03411.80.


Objective: Identify patterns and behaviors among direct and indirect female sex workers (DFSWs and IDFSWs, respectively) across Cambodia's 5 major cities from 1997 to 2003.

Methods: Interviews with DFSWs and IDFSWs followed random selection from clusters in 5 cities. Individual characteristics and condom use with clients and other partners were assessed in univariate and multivariate analyses.

Results: From 1997 to 2003, consistent condom use with clients increased from 53% to 96% among DFSWs and from 30% to 84% among IDFSWs. DFSWs reported staying in their profession longer, had fewer clients per day, stayed longer in each brothel, were in increasingly larger brothels, and were tested more for HIV. For IDFSWs, there were significant changes: more reported practicing commercial sex and testing for HIV. In adjusted models, reported condom use with clients was significantly higher among DFSWs in later survey years (odds ratio [OR], 2.17) and who were never married (OR, 1.69), were in larger brothels (OR, 1.02), and charged more for sex (OR, 1.27), but lower for DFSWs with sweethearts (OR, 0.68) and who reported abnormal vaginal discharge (OR, 0.52). For IDFSWs, in the adjusted models, reported condom use with clients was higher in later years (OR, 1.77) and for those reporting abnormal vaginal discharge (OR, 1.34) and HIV testing (OR, 1.46), and lower for those with sweethearts (OR, 0.49).

Conclusions: From 1997 to 2003, Cambodian direct and indirect sex workers increased their use of condoms each year with commercial as well as noncommercial partners, contributing to the evidence that HIV prevention programs can produce significant changes in risk behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cambodia / epidemiology
  • Condoms*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Safe Sex / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Population