Rapid Syphilis Testing Uptake for Female Sex Workers at Sex Venues in Southern China: Implications for Expanding Syphilis Screening
Based on our previous qualitative exploration, this research presents the second phase in our study of factors associated with utilization of a free HIV VCT clinic in Jinan City, Northern China, by female sex workers (FSWs). A total of 970 FSWs from entertainment venues were interviewed and prospectively followed to determine who ultimately sought and received VCT at the clinic, compared to those who did not. Simple and multiple logistic regressions were performed on factors drawn from the Ecological Perspective, hypothesized to be associated with utilization of testing at the VCT clinic. Despite 69% of FSWs expressing willingness to attend the VCT clinic, only 11% were actually tested. The multiple logistic regression model that provided best goodness of fit included the covariates of willingness to attend the VCT clinic (Adjusted OR 3.13, 95% CI: 1.62–6.59), low perceived HIV infection risk (Adjusted OR 0.64, 95% CI: 0.35–1.11), low fear of FSWs status disclosure in the clinic (Adjusted OR 0.55, 95% CI: 0.31–0.94) and influence of acquaintances (Adjusted OR 0.52, 95% CI: 0.29–0.89) and peers (Adjusted OR 2.45, 95% CI: 1.40–4.50). This is the first study in China to follow FSWs longitudinally to measure factors related to VCT utilization. The low utilization of VCT services by participants in our study is similar to prior reports throughout China. FSWs’ access to VCT service is associated with intrapersonal, institutional, and particularly, interpersonal factors. Based on these findings, we recommend emphasis on confidentiality of services, VCT education for influential peers, and introduction of HIV rapid testing on site.