Knowledge and Behavior towards HIV/AIDS among Young Street Prostitutes in Tehran

Document Type: Original Article


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Social Welfare Management, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D. in Criminology, University of Social Welfare & Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran


This article discusses some of the findings of a study on street prostitutes in Tehran with a focus on HIV/AIDS risk behaviors. It aims to show the extent of their knowledge and attitude about HIV/AIDS and available services and their behavior.   This is an “extensive” and “cross-sectional” study, in which the target group was questioned about their background and socioeconomic status in addition to completing a standard questionnaire (BBS). Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to gather data. The study sample consists of 300 women working in all 22 districts of Tehran. Only 8% of respondents answered correctly to all questions regarding their knowledge about HIV/AIDS related issues. 67% of them did not know where to obtain information and access consultation services. Although approximately 65% of them were aware of role of condom in HIV transmission prevention, only 54.4% of them used a condom in their last sexual encounter with costumers. Qualitative data show a stronger relation between condom use and fear of pregnancy and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than concerns about HIV transmission and AIDS. We do not have any data regarding HIV transmission rate of prostitutes and their role in Iran’s current third wave of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, however, their knowledge and awareness about HIV/AIDS is less than other high risk groups (intravenous drug users, prisoners and homosexual men). The only promising point is the existence of greater awareness and knowledge among younger prostitutes. However, there is an urgent need for greater education and information dissemination regarding HIV/AIDS among this specific group.


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