Original Paper

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 860-865

First online:

Sexual Behavior of Female Sex Workers and Access to Condoms in Kenya and Uganda on the trans-Africa Highway

  • Chester N. MorrisAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Microbiology, University of ManitobaAurum Institute for Health Research Email author 
  • , Sheldon R. MorrisAffiliated withDivision of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of California
  • , Alan G. FergusonAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Microbiology, University of Manitoba

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Female sex workers and their clients remain a high risk core group for HIV in Africa. We measured sexual behavior of a snowball sample of female sex workers (FSW) along the Trans Africa highway from Mombasa, Kenya to Kampala, Uganda and surveyed the availability of male condoms at 1,007 bars and lodgings in Kenya along the highway trucking stops where transactional sex occurs. There were 578 FSW one month sex diaries analyzed, 403 from Kenya and 175 from Uganda. Kenyan FSW had a median of 45 sexual acts per 28 days compared to 39 sex acts per 28 days by Ugandan FSW (P < 0.05). Condom use by FSW for all sexual liaisons was 79% in Kenya compared to 74% in Uganda. In multivariate analysis, adjusting for repeated measures, Kenyan FSW were more likely to use a condom by an adjusted odds ratio of 2.54 (95% confidence interval 1.89–3.41) compared to Ugandan FSW. Condom use with regular clients was 50.8% in Uganda compared with 68.7% in Kenya (P < 0.01). The number of sex workers reporting 100% condom use was 26.8% in Kenya and 18.9% in Uganda (P < 0.01). Bars and lodges in Kenya compared to Uganda were more likely to: have condom dispensers, 25% versus 1%, respectively (P < 0.01); distribute or sell condoms, 73.9% versus 47.6% (P < 0.01); and have more weekly condom distribution, 4.92 versus 1.27 condoms per seating capacity (P < 0.01). Our data indicate that in both countries condom use for FSW is suboptimal, particularly with regular partners, and greater condom use by Trans African highway FSW in Kenya compared to Uganda may be related to availability. Targeted interventions are warranted for FSW and truck drivers to prevent transmission in this important core group.


HIV Sexual behavior Sex workers Transport workers Africa