Original Paper

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 2588-2596

First online:

Determinants of HIV Infection Among Female Sex Workers in Two Cities in the Republic of Moldova: The Role of Injection Drug Use and Sexual Risk

  • Lev ZohrabyanAffiliated withUNAIDS Regional Support Team
  • , Lisa Grazina JohnstonAffiliated withGlobal Health Sciences, University of CaliforniaTulane University of International Public Health and Tropical Medicine Email author 
  • , Otilia ScutelniciucAffiliated withUNAIDS Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser for Central Asia
  • , Alexandrina IovitaAffiliated withUNAIDS Country Office
  • , Lilia TodirascuAffiliated withNational Center for Health Management
  • , Tatiana CostinAffiliated withNational Center for Health Management
  • , Valeriu PlescaAffiliated withNational Center for Health Management
  • , Tatiana Cotelnic-HareaAffiliated withNational Center for Health Management
  • , Gabriela IonascuAffiliated withUNAIDS Country Office

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In 2009–2010, females who reported having vaginal, anal or oral sex in exchange for money in the previous year, ≥16 years, and living in either Chisinau (n = 299) or Balti (n = 359), Moldova, were recruited into a respondent driven sampling survey. One fifth reported ever injecting drugs and over 30 % ever had sexual intercourse with men who inject drugs. In both cities, condom use with permanent and casual partners was much lower than condom use with commercial partners. In Chisinau, 6.9 % and in Balti, 24.7 % tested positive for HIV; 18 and 23.7 % had antibodies to hepatitis C; 9.1 and 8.9 % had antibodies to HBV; and, 8.4 and 6.1 % tested positive for syphilis. HIV seropositive FSW in either city were more likely to have ever injected drugs and to be infected with HCV. Limited government initiative and drastic reductions in international funding will likely impact urgently needed HIV prevention and harm reduction services targeting FSW in Moldova.


Female sex workers Injection drug use HIV/AIDS Hepatitis Moldova