HIV, HCV, HBV, HSV, and syphilis prevalence among female sex workers in Tehran, Iran, by using respondent-driven sampling

AIDS Care. 2016;28(4):487-90. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2015.1109582. Epub 2015 Nov 13.


To find out the prevalence of HIV, HCV, HBV, HSV, and syphilis infections among female sex workers (FSWs) in Tehran, a cross-sectional study by using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) method was conducted. From December 2012 to April 2013 FSWs in Tehran were recruited. Inclusion criteria consisted of trading sex during the 12 months prior to this study and selling sex for at least 6 months in participants' lifetime. Among 161 consenting participants, 5% were infected with HIV. Moreover, 8.1% of FSWs were HCV positive, 37.9% were of HSV type1/type2, 1.2% of participants were infected with HBV, and none of the participants were infected with syphilis. HIV-positive participants were significantly more likely to be co-infected with HSV type1/type2, be younger, have more sexual partners and especially more clients during seven days prior to this study and report more history of having at least one of sexually transmitted infections symptoms in 12 months prior the study. In the multiple logistic regression analysis, being infected with HSV and also being under 25 years of age were found to be independently associated with HIV infection. Compared with the prevalence of HIV among general population of Tehran, relatively high prevalence of HIV and other viral infections among FSWs should be considered. All in all, it is critical to commence effective counter-measures for this high-risk group if the aim is to prevent spreading of these viruses to general population.

Keywords: Female sex worker; HIV; Iran; respondent-driven sampling; sexually transmitted infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coinfection
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Genitalis / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Workers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Syphilis / epidemiology*