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Preventing HIV Among Sex Workers in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Literature Review

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Geneva, WHO, 2011

The main focus of this report is to review the risk factors for HIV among sex workers in sub-Saharan Africa, and the interventions that have been successfully implemented in this region. The report suggests components of a health sector response necessary for accelerating prevention of HIV and other SIs among sex workers and their clients. The report, its findings and recommendations are based on a review of the available published evidence. Information is presented in three major sections. Section 1 summarizes the epidemiology of HIV and other STIs among sex workers and their clients, bringing together evidence from biological and behavioural surveillance, research reports and evaluations of sex worker projects. Patterns of sex work and other salient features of sex work in sub-Saharan Africa are outlined. It also includes a description of the key socio-demographic features of sex workers, which, in part, account for their higher risk associated with HIV.
Section 2 summarizes published evidence on the effectiveness of interventions for reducing HIV incidence among sex workers and their clients, as well as the importance of HIV treatment, prevention and care services for sex workers with HIV. The report concludes with an overview of HIV surveillance and research priorities.