HIV infection and related risk behaviours among female sex workers in greater Cairo, Egypt

East Mediterr Health J. 2012 Sep;18(9):920-7. doi: 10.26719/2012.18.9.920.


Although illegal in Egypt, prostitution exists. The prevalence of HIV infection among female sex workers (FSWs) in Cairo is not precisely known. This cross-sectional study investigated the high-risk behaviour for HIV infection and HIV prevalence among FSWs in greater Cairo. A total of 431 FSWs were interviewed about their sexual history with paid and unpaid partners, condom use and risky behaviour for HIV infection; all were tested for HIV. Use of alcohol and drugs was reported by 39.9% and 49.0% of the women respectively; 37.6% only used such substances while with a client. Male condoms were known by 72.6% but their use in the previous month was low (32.8%) and only 22.4% had used one with their last client. The main reasons for not using condoms were not thinking of it (40.6%) and client refusal (20.5%). All the women tested negative for HIV infection. The high-risk behaviour of many FSWs necessitates intervention programmes to reduce their risk of HIV infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Egypt / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Workers / psychology
  • Sex Workers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data