344 Sex Workers
STIs, including HIV infection
Because of her work, a sex worker has a greater risk of
getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV than other
women. Her risk is increased because sex work means she
must have sex with many different men each day. She may
want to protect herself by using condoms and other safer sex
practices, but the men who pay her can make this difficult.
They may demand sex in the vagina or anus but refuse to use
condoms. They may even become violent if she refuses unsafe
Some sex workers are addicted to drugs. If so, their need for
drugs may make them more willing to exchange unsafe sex for
money or drugs, and less able to take care of themselves.
As with any woman, if a sex worker gets an STI, it may lead
to infertility or cancer of the cervix. Infection with an STI like
herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia greatly increases her
chance of also becoming infected with HIV. These risks are
even more serious for young girls. Since their genitals are not
fully grown, they can be damaged more easily during sex.
Many sex workers do not have good information about
STIs, or about how to treat or prevent them. Information
and health services are often not available to sex workers
because of people’s prejudice against them. When sex
workers do go to a health center for help, they may be
treated badly or refused services.
In some communities
up to 9 out of 10 sex
workers are infected
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012