Objectives: To assess HIV and syphilis prevalence, HIV-related behaviours and testing for HIV in female sex workers (FSW) in Sudan.
Design: Bio-behavioural surveys using respondent-driven sampling were carried out among FSW in the capital cities of 14 states in Sudan in 2011-2012. HIV and syphilis testing was done by rapid tests.
Results: 4220 FSW aged 15-49 years were recruited. The median age of recruited women varied from 21 to 28 years per site. The highest HIV prevalence was measured at two sites in the eastern zone (5.0% and 7.7%), while in the other zones it ranged from 0% to 1.5%. Syphilis prevalence ranged from 1.5% in the northern zone to 8.9% in the eastern zone. Ever having been tested for HIV was reported by 4.4%-23.9% of FSW across all sites. Condom use at last sex with a client varied from 4.7% to 55.1%, while consistent condom use with clients in the month preceding the surveys was reported by 0.7%-24.5% of FSW. The highest reporting of ever injecting drugs was measured at a site in the western zone (5.0%).
Conclusions: The surveys' findings indicate that the highest burden of HIV in FSW is in the eastern states of the country. Condom use and HIV testing data demonstrate the need for HIV interventions that should focus on HIV testing and risk reduction strategies that include stronger condom promotion programmes in FSW and their clients.
Keywords: Africa; Aids; Condoms; Hiv Testing; Prostitution.