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Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil. To investigate differences in HIV infection- related risk practices by Female Sex Workers according to workplace and the effects of homophily on estimating HIV prevalence. Data from 2, women, recruited using Respondent-Driven Sampling, were used for the study carried out in 10 Brazilian cities in The study included female sex workers aged 18 and over.
The questionnaire was completed by the subjects and included questions on characteristics of professional activity, sexual practices, use of drugs, HIV testing, and access to health services. HIV quick tests were conducted. The participants were classified in two groups according to place of work: on the street or indoor venues, like nightclubs and saunas. To compare variable distributions by place of work, we used Chi-square homogeneity tests, taking into consideration unequal selection probabilities as well as the structure of dependence between observations.
We tested the effect of homophily by workplace on estimated HIV prevalence. The highest HIV risk practices were associated with: working on the streets, lower socioeconomic status, low regular smear test coverage, higher levels of crack use and higher levels of syphilis serological scars as well as higher prevalence of HIV infection. The effect of homophily was higher among sex workers in indoor venues.
However, it did not affect the estimated prevalence of HIV, even after using a post-stratification by workplace procedure. The findings suggest that strategies should focus on extending access to, and utilization of, health services.
Prevention policies should be specifically aimed at street workers. Regarding the application of Respondent-Driven Sampling, the sample should be sufficient to estimate transition probabilities, as the network develops more quickly among sex workers in indoor venues.