Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 849–859

Variations in Condom Use by Locale: A Comparison of Mobile Chinese Female Sex Workers in Hong Kong and Mainland China

  • Joseph T. F. Lau
  • H. Y. Tsui
  • Shara P. Y. Ho
Original Paper


The present study investigated the prevalence of HIV and HIV-related behaviors and perceptions among 336 female sex workers (FSW) traveling from mainland China to work in Hong Kong. None of the participants tested HIV positive. Of the participants, 13.2% and 26.8%, respectively, would have unprotected sex with a client in Hong Kong or in mainland China if they liked the client; 16.7% and 21.7%, respectively, would have unprotected sex with a client in Hong Kong and in mainland China if he paid more. Of the participants, 98.5% used condoms in the last episode of sex work in Hong Kong and 78.1% were consistent condom users in Hong Kong in the last month. Yet, among those who previously worked as FSW in mainland China (n = 141), only 28.6% used condoms consistently in mainland China in the last year; 60% of those who used condoms inconsistently while in mainland China became consistent condom users in Hong Kong. Among those who did not use condoms in mainland China, willingness to have unprotected sex with a client who was liked by the FSW was a strong predictor for consistent condom use in Hong Kong (OR = 18.67, p < .001). Among those who were consistent condom users in Hong Kong, the same variable predicted inconsistent condom use while in mainland China (OR = 14.02, p < .05). Condom use behaviors change when FSW are working in different social contexts and behavioral changes are possible. Education programs should take socio-contextual factors into account.


HIV/AIDS Sex workers Risk factors Condoms China 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph T. F. Lau
    • 1
    • 3
  • H. Y. Tsui
    • 1
  • Shara P. Y. Ho
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Faculty of MedicineThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  2. 2.Community Health Organisation for Intervention, Care and EmpowermentShatinHong Kong
  3. 3.Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Faculty of MedicineThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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