FORTY OF 407 PNG SEX WORKERS TEST HIV POSITIVE

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By Ennio Kuble

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Oct. 11, 1999 – The National)---A recent survey of 407 female sex workers here and in Lae showed that 40 tested HIV-positive.

The survey, by the Medical Research Institute, was carried out in June last year and January this year.

The survey showed that many sex workers had contracted other sexually transmitted diseases. For example, 128 had contracted syphilis, 113 chlamydia, 130 gonorrhea and 117 trichomoniasis.

According to the survey, the average sex worker in the study came from the Highlands region (59 percent) and lived in settlements (48 percent) for up to seven years.

Her average age is 24 years, she is either be divorced or separated (65 percent) with a child and attained five years of formal education.

However, sex workers in NCD were more likely to come from the Papua region (52 percent) and live in town (46 percent) with more formal education than their counterparts in Lae.

On the average, the women have been trading for almost two years with almost four clients per week.

Only 15 percent of sex workers said they always used condoms with their clients, but 34 percent did not use condoms at all for varying reasons.

Sex workers found their clients in public places such as pubs and hotels and commonly sex took place in hotels and offices. They charge K20 to K50 per night and between K80 and K150 for two to seven nights (K 2.82485 = US$ 1.00 on October 11, 1999).

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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