Knowledge and practice of condom in preventing HIV/AIDS infection among commercial sex workers in three small towns of northwestern Ethiopia

  • Gegu Degu Alene


Background: HIV/AIDS is a serious problem in Ethiopia. Currently, about 2.6 million people are living with the virus. The majority of the studies on HIV/AIDS and condom use carried out elsewhere in this country have very much limited themselves in big urban centers. This study is aimed at investigation of the knowledge and use of condoms among commercial sex workers in the prevention of HIV/AIDS in three rural towns of northwestern Ethiopia.
Objectives: the objective of the study was to assess the knowledge and use of condom among commercial sex workers aged 15 to 49 in the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Moreover, the influence of selected factors on the use of condom was also aimed to be examined.
Methods: a cross-sectional study was conducted in Kola Duba, Chuahig and Dabat towns (rural towns) between October and December 1999. Data were collected from 317 commercial sex workers using a pre-tested questionnaire.
Results: the level of knowledge of commercial sex workers about HIV/AIDS (97.2%) and condom (96.2%) was stated to be very high compared to their experience of using condom (32.5%) in general and frequent use of condom (12.8%), in particular. Condoms were reported to be readily available at a fair (cheap) price. Among the partners of commercial sex workers who did not like to use condoms, the majority (81%) were farmers who come to those small towns from the surrounding rural areas. A higher condom use rate was observed as the level of educational status of commercial sex workers increased from lower to higher grades (trend test, P<.01).
Conclusion: Besides the initiation of poverty alleviation programmes, a more focused educational intervention for commercial sex workers of rural towns should be given due attention.

[Ethiop.J.Health Dev. 2002;16(3):277-286]

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eISSN: 1021-6790