Background: Unintended pregnancy is a significant public health concern in the world. Particularly, female sex workers are exposed to the risk of unintended pregnancy, abortion and their consequences. The aim of this study was, therefore, to assess unintended pregnancy and associated factors among female sex workers in Mekelle city, northern Ethiopia.
Methods: A community based cross-sectional study was conducted among 346 female sex workers from five Kebelles (smallest administrative units in Ethiopia) of Mekelle city from March-April, 2014. Sex workers were selected with simple random sampling technique using sampling frame obtained from urban health extension program. Epi-data version 3.1 was used to enter data and analysis was done using SPSS version 20. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were performed to identify factors associated with unintended pregnancy using odds ratio and 95% confidence interval with P-value of 0.05.
Results: The magnitude of unintended pregnancy among female sex workers in the past two years was 28.6%. During this period, 59 women had abortion which represents three-fifths, (59.6%), of those who had unintended pregnancies, and 17.1% of all female sex workers. Female sex workers who gave birth and had history of abortion formerly had 3.1 (AOR = 3.07, 95% CI: [1.54, 6.09]) and 15.6 (AOR = 15.64 95% CI: [8.03, 30.47]) times higher odds of unintended pregnancy compared to their counterparts, respectively. Sex workers who had steady partners had 2.9 (AOR = 2.87, 95% CI: [1.47, 5.61]) times higher odds of have unintended pregnancy than those who hadn't. Drug users had 2.7 (AOR = 2.68, 95% CI: [1.30, 5.52]) times higher odds of unintended pregnancy than those who hadn't use. Sex workers who had 60-96 months of duration in sex work were 67% less likely to have unintended pregnancy than those with <12 months (AOR = 0.33, 95% CI: [0.11, 0.95]).
Conclusions: High level of unintended pregnancy and a range of associated factors were identified among sex workers. Improving utilization of effective pregnancy prevention methods in a consistent manner can avert the existing high level of unintended pregnancy among female sex workers.