Sentinel surveillance of sexually transmitted infections/HIV and risk behaviors in vulnerable populations in 5 Central American countries

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2007 Sep 1;46(1):101-11.


In El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, we recruited 2466 female sex workers (FSWs) by probabilistic or comprehensive sampling and 1418 men who have sex with men (MSM) by convenience sampling to measure sociobehavioral risk and sexually transmitted infections. For MSM, HIV seroprevalence ranged from 7.6% in Nicaragua to 15.3% in El Salvador, and estimated HIV seroincidence per 100 person-years ranged from 2.7 in Panama to 14.4 in Nicaragua; 61% reported using condoms consistently with casual male partners, 29% reported exposure to behavioral interventions, and 22% reported recent sex with male and female partners. For FSWs, HIV seroprevalence ranged from 0.2% in Nicaragua and Panama to 9.6% in Honduras, where estimated HIV seroincidence was also highest (3.2 per 100 person-years); 77% and 72% of FSWs reported using condoms consistently with new and regular clients. Herpes simplex virus (HSV)-2 seroprevalence averaged 85.3% in FSWs and 48.2% in MSM, and syphilis seropositivity averaged 9.6% in FSWs and 8.3% in MSM. Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae prevalences in FSWs averaged 20.1% and 8.1%, and Trichomonas vaginalis and bacterial vaginosis prevalences averaged 11.0% and 54.8%. An ongoing HIV epidemic involves Central American MSM with potential bridging to women. In FSWs, HSV-2 infection was associated with HIV infection (odds ratio = 11.0, 95% confidence interval: 2.9 to 7.9). For these vulnerable populations, prevention must incorporate acceptable and effective sexual health services, including improved condom access and promotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Central America / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sentinel Surveillance*
  • Sex Work
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Unsafe Sex / statistics & numerical data*