International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 355–363 | Cite as

Linked factors to access to sexual health checkups of female sex workers in the metropolitan region of Chile

  • Julieta Belmar Prieto
  • Valeria Stuardo ÁvilaEmail author
  • Cinta Folch
  • Alexandra Montoliu
  • Jordi Casabona
Original Article



To describe and compare the profile of female sex workers (FSWs) that access or do not access sexual health checkups (SHC). The research question was what are the factors linked to access to SHC for FSWs in the metropolitan region (RM) of Chile?


A cross-sectional study was conducted in the RM with FSWs over the age of 18. A sample of 370 FSWs was selected by using the time-location sampling method in closed venues and at street-level locations. A survey was applied, validated, and included clinical-epidemiological, behavioral and socio-demographic variables.


38.6% (n = 140) of FSWs that answered the question never used SHC and 37.6% (n = 84) received checkups in a specialized health center for FSWs. FSWs with no SHC were younger, prone to have more group sex, preferably with occasional or no stable partner, and did not know where to get an HIV test.


FSWs have had uncertain access to sexual health controls. FSWs with no SHC and young FSWs presented higher-risk behaviors.


Sexual health checkups Female sex workers Behavioral profile Chile 



Funding was provided by National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FONDECYT-Chile) (VIBIMOS project No. 11140021: Biobehavioral surveillance for HIV/AIDS in hard-to-reach populations in the metropolitan region of Santiago, Chile). We would like to thank MARGEN Foundation for its extraordinary fight for the rights of female sex workers and the prevention of HIV in Chile. To all the team that collaborated in this project, Herminda, Nancy, Mileidy, Maria José, Jose Manuel, Bielka and all women who agreed to participate in this project and so many fantastic people.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julieta Belmar Prieto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Valeria Stuardo Ávila
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cinta Folch
    • 3
    • 4
  • Alexandra Montoliu
    • 3
  • Jordi Casabona
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Epidemiology Program, School of Public HealthUniversity of ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Doctoral Program in Methodology of Biomedical Research and Public Health, Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Preventive MedicineAutonomous University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Center for Epidemiological Studies on STIs and AIDS of CataloniaCatalonia (CEEISCAT)BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Cyber of Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP)BarcelonaSpain

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