April 1, 2009

Sex workers prefer their own STD screening

Sex workers said they prefer self-collection of samples for sexually transmitted infections, British researchers said.

Researchers at the University of Westminster tested a simple and convenient method for screening female commercial sex workers for sexually transmitted infections without the need for them to attend clinics.

Dr. Patrick Kimmitt said the women were given tampons that they could use to collect their own samples and post them to the laboratory.

Kimmitt said despite their risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections, female commercial sex workers are reluctant to attend clinics for regular screenings.

This may be due to unsuitability of opening times, fear of stigma or the false concern of the possibility of being reported to the police.

Point of care testing delivered at their workplace is more attractive to this patient group, Kimmitt said.

The study involved 65 commercial sex workers, each was asked to complete a questionnaire in which they indicated their preferences for screening and ease of use of sample collection.

The researchers presented the group's findings to the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Harrogate, England.