Victimization and HIV Risks Among Croatian Female Sex Workers: Exploring the Mediation Role of Depressiveness and the Moderation Role of Social Support

Violence Against Women. 2017 Jan;23(1):67-88. doi: 10.1177/1077801216636241. Epub 2016 Mar 28.


To assess the association between victimization and HIV vulnerability among Croatian female sex workers (FSWs), a survey involving 157 FSWs recruited from Croatia's two largest urban areas was conducted in 2014. A majority of participants reported direct and indirect victimization, which was found to be significantly associated with condom use at most recent noncommercial sexual intercourse and sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis in the past 12 months. The association between victimization and STI diagnosis was partially mediated by depressiveness and moderated by social support. The buffering role of social support points to the importance of including counseling services in HIV prevention programs in Croatia.

Keywords: Croatia; HIV risk; female sex workers; social support; victimization.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Croatia
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Physical Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Risk
  • Sex Workers / psychology*
  • Sex Workers / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult