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Sexual Practices, Drug Use Behaviors, and Prevalence of HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C, and HTLV-1/2 in Immigrant and Non-immigrant Female Sex Workers in Argentina

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Objective To study socio-demographics, sexual practices, drug use behaviors, and prevalences of HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C, HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 in immigrant (foreigner) and non-immigrant (local/native) female sex workers (FSW). Design This was a cross-sectional study in immigrant and non-immigrant FSW living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Participants were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire. Results A total of 625 FSW were enrolled, of whom 169 (27%) were immigrant FSW from Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Peru, and Uruguay. The prevalence of syphilis and hepatitis C was significantly higher among Argentinean FSW than among immigrant FSW. However, hepatitis B prevalence was higher among immigrant FSW. Adjusted risk factor analysis comparing immigrant FSW with Argentinean FSW indicated that marital status (single), occupation (none), fee per sex act (≤US$7), workplace (bar and cabaret), and anal sex with clients were significantly associated with immigrant FSW status. Conclusions Effective HIV/STI prevention and medical care programs need to be tailored to the specific needs of both FSW groups in Argentina.

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Special thanks to all study participants for their collaboration in this study, and to the many staff and scientists at the HIV/AIDS control program and at the “Asociación of Mujeres Meretrices” in Argentina, as well as to Sebastian A. for his technical assitance.

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Correspondence to Christian T. Bautista.

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Bautista, C.T., Pando, M.A., Reynaga, E. et al. Sexual Practices, Drug Use Behaviors, and Prevalence of HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C, and HTLV-1/2 in Immigrant and Non-immigrant Female Sex Workers in Argentina. J Immigrant Minority Health 11, 99–104 (2009).

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