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Prevalence and Risks of Syphilis among Commercial Sex Workers in Georgetown, Guyana

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Objective: To determine the knowledge attitude and practice (KAP) and prevalence of syphilis and to investigate the sexual health practices and constraints among commercial sex workers (CSWs) in Guyana.

Methods: The participants were randomly selected from CSWs participating in support group meetings held in Georgetown and Berbice. The survey was cross-sectional, and SPSS 20.0 was used to perform the data analysis.

Results: The majority (92.9%) of CSWs tested negative for syphilis, whereas two (2.9%) of the five (7.1%) reactive Venereal Disease Research Laboratory cases indicated prior history of syphilis infection. In the study, 54.3% of participants always used condoms, whereas 74.3% did not use drugs and only 2.9% consumed alcohol every day. The participants had a fair KAP towards syphilis but few misconceptions exist. Stigma and discrimination was identified as the major constraint faced by male sex workers, and 97.1% of CSWs indicated that they preferred giving up sex work.

Conclusion: Syphilis was not prevalent among the selected CSWs in Georgetown and Berbice. Prevention programmes should be continued through the support groups to maintain and increase safe sexual practices among female sex workers. Strategies should also be tailored to provide rehabilitation to the CSWs, especially for those willing to give up sex work.

14 Apr, 2015
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e-Published: 04 Jun, 2015
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