HIV prevention and care services for female sex workers: efficacy of a targeted community-based intervention in Burkina Faso

J Int AIDS Soc. 2015 Sep 14;18(1):20088. doi: 10.7448/IAS.18.1.20088. eCollection 2015.


Introduction: Although interventions to control HIV among high-risk groups such as female sex workers (FSW) are highly recommended in Africa, the contents and efficacy of these interventions are unclear. We therefore designed a comprehensive dedicated intervention targeting young FSW and assessed its impact on HIV incidence in Burkina Faso.

Methods: Between September 2009 and September 2011 we conducted a prospective, interventional cohort study of FSW aged 18 to 25 years in Ouagadougou, with quarterly follow-up for a maximum of 21 months. The intervention combined prevention and care within the same setting, consisting of peer-led education sessions, psychological support, sexually transmitted infections and HIV care, general routine health care and reproductive health services. At each visit, behavioural characteristics were collected and HIV, HSV-2 and pregnancy were tested. We compared the cohort HIV incidence with a modelled expected incidence in the study population in the absence of intervention, using data collected at the same time from FSW clients.

Results: The 321 HIV-uninfected FSW enrolled in the cohort completed 409 person-years of follow-up. No participant seroconverted for HIV during the study (0/409 person-years), whereas the expected modelled number of HIV infections were 5.05/409 person-years (95% CI, 5.01-5.08) or 1.23 infections per 100 person-years (p=0.005). This null incidence was related to a reduction in the number of regular partners and regular clients, and by an increase in consistent condom use with casual clients (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=2.19; 95% CI, 1.16-4.14, p=0.01) and with regular clients (aOR=2.18; 95% CI, 1.26-3.76, p=0.005).

Conclusions: Combining peer-based prevention and care within the same setting markedly reduced the HIV incidence among young FSW in Burkina Faso, through reduced risky behaviours.

Keywords: Africa; HIV; female sex workers; incidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Burkina Faso / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Safe Sex / psychology
  • Safe Sex / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Workers / psychology
  • Sex Workers / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult