Knowledge of HIV and HPV Infection, and Acceptance of HPV Vaccination in Spanish Female Sex Worker

C. Rodríguez-Cerdeira*, 1, E. Sánchez-Blanco2, A. Gutierrez2, A. Rodriguez-Rodriguez2, B. Sánchez-Blanco3
1 Department of Dermatology, CHUVI/ University of Vigo, Vigo, Spain
2 University of Vigo, Vigo, Spain
3 Department of Emergency, CHUVI, Vigo, Spain

© Rodríguez-Cerdeira et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Servicio Dermatología. CHUVI. Hospital do Meixoeiro, 36200 Vigo. Spain; Tel: 0034600536114; Fax: 0034986276416; E-mails: and


Objective: To examine the socioeconomic variables, lifestyles, and sexual behaviors of female sex workers; their knowledge about the risk of HIV and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection; the HPV vaccine, and their attitudes toward it.

Methods: 168 female sex workers (18-49 years old) filled out a questionnaire consisting of 5 parts with a total of 19 items.

Results: Knowledge of Pap smears was moderate; 47% of the participants had undergone at least one. Most respondents (52.4%) had never heard of HPV. Most (88%) recognized HIV as a virus that can be acquired sexually. For most women, recommendations from non governmental organizations (NGOs) (68.5%) were the major influences in deciding to be vaccinated and learning how to take care of their health.

Conclusion: The cost-effectiveness ratios for HPV control and vaccination strategies would be more favorable if younger women are targeted and initial catch-up efforts are targeted to female sex workers by revising screening policies. Healthcare workers and volunteers in NGOs should be educated and trained about HIV, HPV infection, and HPV vaccination and its relationship with genital cancer.

Keywords: Female sex worker, HIV, HPV vaccination, sexual behavior.