, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 623-636
Date: 12 Aug 2007

Behavioral Studies of Female Sex Workers in China: A Literature Review and Recommendation for Future Research

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Commercial sex plays a critical role in the heterosexual transmission of HIV in China. This study reviews behavioral studies in English literature on female sex workers (FSWs) in China from 1990 to 2006. Existing studies indicate that FSWs in China are young, mobile, most of them have both commercial and non-commercial sex partners; they have low rates of consistent condom use and high rates of STD infection. Some FSWs are also engaged in drug abuse. There is a great variation of sexual practices and HIV risks among FSWs across different work settings. Limited numbers of intervention studies have reported positive effects on increasing condom use and/or decreasing STD infections. Literature gaps and lessons learned from existing studies are identified and future research needs are discussed. Future behavioral intervention programs need to be multi-faceted and incorporate environmental and structural factors for different groups of FSWs.