Poverty, Sexual Practices and Vulnerability of Female Sex Workers to HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Lagos Metropolis, Nigeria.

The objectives of this study were to know those factors that made women to join sex industry and effects of these factors on the practice of safe sex by female sex workers in Lagos metropolis within the context of HIV/AIDS pandemic. To achieve these objectives, quantitative and qualitative research methods were adopted. In the quantitative method, 320 female sex workers were sampled in a cross-sectional survey, while 20 in-depth interviews were conducted among the respondents in the qualitative method. Findings of the study showed that female sex workers in the metropolis were young ladies in their early twenties because the mean age of respondents was 23.8 years. Data on family socio-economic background revealed that 74.4% of the respondents were from poor family, while 85.6% of them grew up from one or two-room apartment. 35.0% of the respondents stated that poverty made them to join sex industry. It is instructive to know that all the respondents had knowledge about the existence of HIV/AIDS and 81.9% of them identified sexual intercourse as major route of HIV transmission. There is significant relationship between poverty, educational level, ever contraction of STIs, charging of higher price for “flesh to flesh” sexual contact and consistent use of condom by sex workers at P<0.01. Specifically, only 24.7% of the respondents were using condom regularly in each of the sexual acts. Poverty is a major factor that pushed young women into prostitution and this same factor hindered them from practising safe sex. Thus, programmes that will reduce poverty level should be developed in order to reduce rapid transmission of HIV infection in the country.
Oyefara, J. L. (2007). Poverty, sexual practices and vulnerability of female sex workers to HIV/AIDS pandemic in Lagos Metropolis, Nigeria. Gender and behaviour, 5(2), 1260-1278.