Mothers who sell sex: a potential paradigm for integrated HIV, sexual, and reproductive health interventions among women at high risk of HIV in Burkina Faso

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2015 Mar 1;68 Suppl 2:S154-61. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000454.


Background: Antenatal care is a point of entry into the health system for women across Africa and may facilitate the uptake of HIV services among female sex workers (FSWs). This study aimed to evaluate the determinants of motherhood among FSWs, their sexual risks, and their engagement in health care.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from January to July 2013 among FSWs in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. The study used respondent-driven sampling for HIV testing and behavioral data collection. Predictors of motherhood and the association of motherhood and sex work dynamics were assessed separately using logistic regression.

Results: Of the 696 women enrolled, the majority of participants (76.6%, n = 533) had at least 1 biological child. Mothers were more likely to have a nonpaying partner [adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 1.73; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.20 to 2.49], and significantly less likely to currently desire to conceive (aOR, 0.21; 95% CI: 0.13 to 0.33). Motherhood was predictive of having reduced condomless vaginal or anal sex with a new client [age-adjusted odds ratio (aaOR), 0.80; 95% CI: 0.65 to 0.97] in the past 30 days, and increased condomless vaginal or anal sex with a nonpaying partner (aaOR, 1.49; 95% CI: 1.13 to 1.96). Motherhood was prognostic of a higher likelihood of ever being tested for HIV (aaOR, 1.89; 95% CI: 1.55 to 2.31). Motherhood was predictive of reporting limited difficulty when accessing health services (aaOR, 0.15; 95% CI: 0.67 to 0.34).

Conclusions: Motherhood is common among FSWs. The results indicate that FSWs who are mothers may have more exposure to health care because of seeking antenatal/perinatal services, presenting important opportunities for inclusion in the HIV continuum of care and to prevent vertical transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burkina Faso / epidemiology
  • Condoms
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Mothers*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Workers
  • Unsafe Sex
  • Young Adult