A new study has revealed that inexperienced prostitutes are twice as likely to have sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The research involving more than a thousand female sex workers has shown that girls who are new to the profession face a greater risk of developing STIs.
"Of the women we studied, 60 percent were new workers, having been selling sex for less than a year," said Heng Sopheab from the University of Bergen, Norway, and the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STDs.
"Prevalence of gonorrhoea, chlamydia, or any STI was higher among these new workers; overall they were 2.1 times more likely to be infected than more experienced women," Sopheab added.
The overall STI prevalence in the Cambodian workers was 2.3pct for syphillis, 13.0pct for gonorrhoea and 14.4 pct for chlamydia.
The researchers suggest that newer workers are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviour because they lack prevention information, are unaware of STI services and are less skilled and experienced in negotiating safer sex with clients.
Sopheab said, "Our analysis did not reveal any significant differences between new and longer-working women in terms of socio-demographic characteristics and risk behaviours that might explain the significant difference in prevalence of STIs.
"Therefore, a biological difference between new and more experienced sex workers is one possible explanation".
The study is reported in the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases.