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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


CAMEJO, María I; MATA, Gloria  and  DIAZ, Marcos. Prevalence of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis in female sex workers in Venezuela. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2003, vol.37, n.3, pp.339-344. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: In Venezuela, female sex workers are submitted to a preventive control of syphilis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, other very important sexually transmitted infections are not evaluated. A study was carried out to identify the sociocultural background of a group of sex workers and its association with the seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C markers, in addition to routine evaluation. METHOD: A total of 212 female sex workers who attended the control center of sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the city of Los Teques, Venezuela, were evaluated. Women were asked their age, educational background, use of contraceptive methods and condoms. Blood was drawn to determine the prevalence of syphilis, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), antibodies to hepatitis B core (anti-HBc), hepatitis C (anti-HCV) and HIV. RESULTS: The prevalence of syphilis was 2.4%, seroprevalence of anti-HCV was 0.5%, HBsAg 3.8% and anti-HBc 13.8%. No cases of HIV were observed. Higher prevalence of hepatitis B markers was associated with a lower level of education (p<0.05) and higher age (p<0.05). It was found that 38.5% of participant women never used condoms and 25.6% did not use any contraceptive method. CONCLUSION: It could be necessary to implement preventive programs to immunize sex workers against hepatitis B virus as well as education programs on condom use for their protection against sexually transmitted infections.

Keywords : Sexually transmitted diseases [prevention & control]; Hepatitis B [prevention & control]; Hepatitis C [prevention & control]; HIV infection [prevention & control]; Syphilis [prevention & control]; Prostitution; Serologic tests; Prevalence; Women's health services; Socioeconomic factors.

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