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Differences in Condom Utilization Among Minor and Adult Female Sex Workers in Thailand: A Comparative Study

Robert W. Buckingham, Dr PH1, J. Moraros, MD, MPH1, Yelena Bird, MD, MPH1, S. Prapasiri, BS2, and N. Hempstead, BS2. (1) Department of Health Sciences, MSC 3HLS, New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001, 505-646-8138, buck@nmsu.edu, (2) College of Health and Social Services, New Mexico State University, 1335 International Mall, PO Box 30001, Office of the Dean, MSC 3446, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001

Purpose: This study sought to research the differences in condom utilization among minor (< 18 years old) and adult female sex worker (FSW) in Thailand brothels.

Methods: The present study surveyed 150 female sex workers from brothels in four geographic areas of Thailand, including: Bangkok, Chang Mai, Mae Hong Son, and small villages. Approximately half (N=68) of the FSW participants were less than 18 years old. The questionnaire examined four categories of interest: (1) FSW demographics, (2) Customer data, (3) Condom utilization, and (4) Attitude regarding condom use and sex work.

Results: The mean age of the minor FSW was 14.7 years old, as opposed to 27.3 years for the adult FSW. The minor FSW surveyed were significantly more likely to report that they had higher numbers of customers per day (F=13.50, p<0.00), used condoms less frequently (F=14.43, p<0.00), were more willing to forgo condom use for monetary compensation (F=11.34, p<0.00), and had to buy their own condoms (F=12.33, p<0.00).

Conclusion: Condom mean use among minor FSW is considerably lower, while the number of clients seen per day is significantly higher than their adult FSW counterparts. Consequently, public health efforts in Thailand need to concentrate on this most ‘desirable' and yet vulnerable segment of the FSW population, if they are to successfully continue to decrease their HIV/AIDS incidence rates.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Adolescent Health, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Topics in HIV/AIDS I

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA