Prophylaxis against infection in Singaporean prostitutes

Genitourin Med. 1988 Feb;64(1):52-3. doi: 10.1136/sti.64.1.52.


One hundred prostitutes were interviewed about the prophylactic measures they took against infection. The use of contraceptive diaphragms and clandestine antibiotics correlated significantly with fewer gonococcal infections.

PIP: The self-treatment methods used by 100 prostitutes, selected from those regularly attending the Middle Road Hospital, Singapore, were determined by structured interviews, and correlated with incidence of gonococcal infections. Subjects were studied if they had attended clinics at least 15 times in the last year. Treatments included antiseptic solutions by 67 women (Dettol, Listerine, pHisohex); antibiotics by 31 (19 from drug stores or pedlars, 12 medically prescribed or injected); contraceptive diaphragms by 16. Antibiotics, ampicillin or tetracycline, generally were used inappropriately, such as 1 tablet/week, and inert capsules may have been obtained. The mean number of gonococcal infections was significantly reduced by use of antibiotics (0.55 vs 1.49, p0.01),diaphragm (0.50 vs 1.39, p0.55), and by both antibiotics and diaphragm (0.16 vs 1.57, p0.05). No significant effect was seen with postcoital washing or insertion of cotton wool. Neither was there any correlation between number of infections and number of clients said to be using condoms. These results suggest that fitting prostitutes with diaphragms on their 1st visit to the clinic may be beneficial.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Contraceptive Devices, Female
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Sex Work*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Singapore


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents