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HIV/AIDS related knowledge and attitude among female sex workers in Tehran/Iran


To assess the knowledge and attitude of female sex workers regarding HIV/AIDS and utilization of health services prepared for them in Tehran capital city of Iran.


This study includes two phases. Phase one: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 280 female sex workers in various urban areas in Tehran. During the survey a 114 item researcher designed questionnaire was used. The validity and reliability of questionnaire was assessed during a pilot study. Phase two: Following the quantitative survey a qualitative study was done which 39 in-depth interviews were conducted to gain insights into the context of their risky sexual behaviors and suggestions for feasible HIV primary prevention interventions.


The mean age of the respondents was 27.6 years and majority of them were literate. Among study population 43.1% were born in another province besides Tehran. The mean years of sex work was reported as 5.8 years by participants in this study. About 97.5% of them reported that they have heard about HIV/AIDS and 98.5% reported that they have heard about condom. Among respondents 70% believed that there is no feasibility for confidential HIV test in Tehran. The findings revealed that 30.3% of participants in this study were forced to take an HIV/AIDS infectious test exam against their personal will.


Although majority of female sex workers in Tehran were familiar with HIV/AIDS and condom but their knowledge was superficial. Most of study group had serious concerns about referring to health clinics for HIV/AIDS tests and they had negative attitudes in this regard. It seems that peer group education, providing secure stations for HIV/AIDS testing and providing easy access to condom would be useful to address this problem.

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Correspondence to Saeid Madani Ghahfarokhi.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Ghahfarokhi, S.M., Forouzan, A.S., Roshanfekr, P. et al. HIV/AIDS related knowledge and attitude among female sex workers in Tehran/Iran. Retrovirology 7 (Suppl 1), P130 (2010).

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