The researchers conducted a sexual-behavior HIV prevalence survey on male clients of female prostitutes working in brothels in Dakar, Senegal, to investigate the degree to which these men act as a bridge for HIV transmission to the general population. Study participants were recruited outside the prostitutes' rooms after their encounters with the prostitutes. The men were asked to answer questions and give saliva to be tested for HIV-1 and HIV-2.
Study findings suggested that a proportion of brothel clients form a potential bridge for HIV transmission between prostitutes and partners from the general population. Such clients have unprotected sex with brothel prostitutes and with steady and casual partners, thus exposing both unmarried and married women to HIV infection. The study also indicated that wives are more exposed to HIV than other categories of women in the population.
"Clients of brothels' prostitutes have a significant potential for spreading HIV beyond the initial high-risk behavior groups in Senegal," the authors concluded. "Efforts should be provided to target specific groups at higher risk for HIV infection, such as young men from the densely populated working-class neighborhoods of Dakar, and women outside the commercial sex networks for HIV education and prevention."