A new study has found that Spanish prostitutes are the least likely to use condoms.
The Centre for Epidemiological Studies into Sexually-Transmitted Diseases and AIDS in Catalonia (CEEISCAT) started the research in Spain in 2005.
The aim of the study was to monitor the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and risky behaviour among female sex workers (SWs).
"The phenomenon of prostitution has changed over recent years in Spain, going from prostitution as an activity carried out by Spanish women, often injecting drug users, to a situation where it is carried out by women from other countries, which has led to behavioural and social changes", Cinta Folch, lead author of the study and a researcher at CEEISCAT, tells SINC.
Only 10.8 percent of the 400 women interviewed were native Spaniards, and these tended to be older women who were injecting drug users. The rest came from Latin America (30.7 percent), eastern Europe (32.5 percent) and Africa (26 percent).
The researchers found that 95.5 percent of these sex workers use condoms during vaginal sex with clients, but that they do not ordinarily use them with their regular partners (only 12.4 percent).
"A significant finding is that the Spanish women are the least likely to use a condom with their clients. The reason could be the age of these working women. Their clients may be more stable and they may trust them more. In addition, the IV drug users among the SWs are the Spanish women (9.3 percent), and this fact could lead them to have unprotected sex", Folch added.
The study showed the rate of HIV infection to be 1.8 percent, that of Chlamydia trachomatis 5.5 percent and Neisseria gonorrhoeae 0.5 percent.
The only differences were observed in the HIV infection rates, which were significantly higher among the Spanish SWs, at 9.3 percent.
In addition, 49.7 percent of the women interviewed reported incidences when condoms had split over the past six months.
The study was published recently in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.