Objective: To examine the relationship between violence, condom breakage, and HIV prevalence among female sex workers (FSWs).
Methods: Data were obtained from the 2012 cross-sectional integrated biological and behavioral survey conducted in Benin. Multivariable log-binomial regression was used to estimate the adjusted prevalence ratios of HIV infection and condom breakage in relation to violence toward FSWs. A score was created to examine the relationship between the number of violence types reported and HIV infection.
Results: Among the 981 women who provided a blood sample, HIV prevalence was 20.4%. During the last month, 17.2%, 13.5%, and 33.5% of them had experienced physical, sexual, and psychological violence, respectively. In addition, 15.9% reported at least 1 condom breakage during the previous week. There was a significant association between all types of violence and HIV prevalence. The adjusted prevalence ratios of HIV were 1.45 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.05-2.00), 1.42 (95% CI, 1.02-1.98), and 1.41 (95% CI, 1.08-1.41) among those who had ever experienced physical, sexual, and psychological violence, respectively. HIV prevalence increased with the violence score (P = 0.002, test for trend), and physical and sexual violence were independently associated with condom breakage (P = 0.010 and P = 0.003, respectively).
Conclusions: The results show that violence is associated with a higher HIV prevalence among FSWs and that condom breakage is a potential mediator for this association. Longitudinal studies designed to analyze this relationship and specific interventions integrated to current HIV prevention strategies are needed to reduce the burden of violence among FSWs.