Objectives: To study groups of prostitutes and clients of prostitutes in order (i) to determine HIV prevalence and sexual risk behaviour, (ii) to determine differences between samples recruited within and outside a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and (iii) to determine correlates of inconsistent condom use (ICU) among both groups.
Design: Participants were interviewed and anonymously tested for HIV-antibody; approximately half were recruited at a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and half at prostitute working places.
Setting: An STD clinic and prostitute working places in Amsterdam in 1991.
Subjects: 201 female prostitutes without a history of injecting drugs and 213 male clients of female prostitutes.
Main outcome measures: antibodies to HIV, consistency of condom use in commercial vaginal contacts in the preceding 6 months.
Results: HIV prevalence was low: three prostitutes (1.5%; 95% CI 0.5-4.6%) and one client (0.5%; 95% CI 0.1-3.3%) were infected. All three HIV positive prostitutes originated from AIDS-endemic countries, came to the Netherlands only recently and were recruited outside the STD clinic. Large differences between subgroups resulted from the two recruitment methods: while clients of prostitutes with relatively high risk behaviour were strongly represented among the STD clinic sample, high risk prostitutes were underrepresented in this sample. Consistent condom use (with 100% of contacts) was reported by 66% of prostitutes and 56% of clients of prostitutes. Inconsistent condom use was found to be high among prostitutes who had migrated from Latin America and among migrant clients of prostitutes.
Conclusions: When monitoring HIV infection one must take into account imported cases. HIV prevention efforts should be particularly focused at prostitutes from Latin America and at clients of prostitutes who migrated to the Netherlands.