Female sex workers (FSWs) have been identified as a core group in the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Young FSWs are particularly more vulnerable to HIV due to the combination of vulnerabilities associated with their youth and the sex work they engage in. This study aims to give more insight into HIV prevalence and sexual risk behaviour of young FSWs in Nigeria, by focusing on the differences between BB and NBB young FSWs.
Data was obtained from the Nigeria Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance Survey (IBBSS) for high-risk groups conducted in 2010. IBBSS is a quantitative survey conducted amongst identified high-risk sub populations within Nigeria. HIV prevalence and risk behaviour data for young BB and NBB FSWs aged 15–24 years for nine states was extracted and analysed.
A total of 1796 FSWs aged 15–24 years were interviewed during the survey, 746 (41.5%) were BB while 1050 (58.5%) were NBB. The HIV prevalence was higher among BB FSWs compared to the NBB FSWs (21.0% vs. 15.5%). BB FSWs reported less condom use with boyfriends and casual partners than NBB FSWs (26.3% vs. 45.5%) and (55.1% vs. 61.1%) respectively while risk of HIV infection due to injecting drug use was higher in NBB compared to BB FSWs (6.6% vs. 1.2%).
Existing and future interventions on HIV prevention should focus on empowering young FSWs with innovative and sustainable approaches aimed at improving their health and wellbeing.