Risk factors and prevalence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among low-income female commercial sex workers in Mongolia

Sex Transm Dis. 2007 Feb;34(2):83-7. doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000237670.59140.0f.


Background: Mongolia has very low HIV prevalence despite high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Low-income female sex workers (FSWs) may be at high risk for acquiring and spreading the disease in Mongolia.

Goal: The goal of this study was to assess the prevalence and risk factors associated with the acquisition of HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis among low-income female commercial sex workers in 3 urban centers in Mongolia.

Study design: One hundred seventy-nine low-income FSWs were tested for HIV (enzyme immunoassay) and 132 were tested for syphilis (Treponema pallidum hemagglutination-confirmed), gonorrhea (Gram stain and culture), and trichomoniasis (wet mount microscopy). Questionnaires detailing socioeconomic characteristics, sexual behaviors, drug and alcohol use, general health, and STI/HIV knowledge were completed by 149 women.

Results: No HIV infections were found in 179 women. Of 132 women, 57 (43%), 18 (14%), and 37 (28%) tested positive for syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomonas, respectively; 88 (67%) tested positive for one or more STIs and 22 (17%) were multiply infected. Socioeconomic factors were correlated to reported condom use and infection status.

Conclusions: Low-income FSWs in Mongolia represent a unique population of very high-risk individuals with very low rates of HIV infection. Interventions targeting this population represent a unique opportunity to prevent a potentially rapid increase of HIV infection in urban Mongolia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology*
  • HIV / isolation & purification
  • HIV Antibodies / blood
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Mongolia / epidemiology
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification
  • Poverty
  • Sex Work*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Syphilis / diagnosis
  • Syphilis / epidemiology*
  • Treponema pallidum / isolation & purification
  • Trichomonas Infections / diagnosis
  • Trichomonas Infections / epidemiology*
  • Trichomonas Infections / microbiology
  • Trichomonas vaginalis / isolation & purification
  • Urban Population


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • HIV Antibodies