Condom use among female sex workers in Catalonia: why do they use a condom, why don't they use it?

AIDS Educ Prev. 2015 Apr;27(2):180-93. doi: 10.1521/aeap.2015.27.2.180.


The present study, based on social representation theory (Moscovici, 1961), aimed to identify the social representation of condom use (CU) in a collective of female sex workers (FSW) in Catalonia, considering both their work and private life. It involved 124 FSW and combined both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Results suggest that both CU and non-CU represent strategies that FSW use mainly when confronted by threats to things they consider important. In work life, where CU is widespread, the most important thing is health protection, and the threat is represented by sexually transmitted infections. In private life, where non-CU is widespread, the most important thing is that their relationships adhere to an idealized relationship model, based on love, trust, and sexual gratification; this model lies in contrast to the status of the women as FSW. The threats are represented by both partner infidelity and their FSW status (symbolic threats).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Workers*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires