PLoS One

Incidence of HIV infection and associated factors among female sex workers in Côte d’Ivoire, results of the ANRS 12361 PrEP-CI study using recent infection assays



Marcellin N. Nouaman, Valentine Becquet, Mélanie Plazy, Patrick A. Coffie, Clémence Zébago, Alice Montoyo, Camille Anoma, Serge Eholié, François Dabis, Joseph Larmarange, for the ANRS 12361 PrEP-CI Study group


Background This study aimed to estimate, using an HIV Recent Infection Testing Algorithm (RITA), the HIV incidence and its associated factors among female sex workers (FSW) in Côte d’Ivoire.

Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2016–2017 in Abidjan and San Pedro’s region among FSW aged ≥ 18 years. In addition, a sociodemographic questionnaire, HIV screening was carried out by two rapid tests. In the event of a positive result, a dried blood spot sample was taken to determine, using a RITA adapted to the Ivorian context, if it was a recent HIV infection.

Results A total of 1000 FSW were surveyed with a median age of 25 years (interquartile range: 21–29 years). 39 (3.9%) tested positive for HIV. The incidence of HIV was estimated to be 2.3 per 100 person-years, with higher incidence rates among those 24 years old or less (3.0% vs. 1.9%), non-Ivorian FSW (3.2% vs. 1.9%) and those with the lowest education level (4.6% in FSW who never went to school vs. 2.6%). The incidence seemed to be associated with the sex work practice conditions: higher incidence among FSW whose usual price was less than 3.50$ (4.3% vs.1.0%), FSW who had a larger number of clients on the last day of work (6.1% in those with 7 clients or more vs. 1.8%), FSW who reported not always using condoms with their clients (8.5% vs. 1.5%) and FSW who reported agreeing to sex without a condom in exchange for a large sum of money (10.1% vs. 1.2%).

Conclusion This study confirms that FSW remain highly exposed to HIV infection. Exposure to HIV is also clearly associated with certain sex-work factors and the material conditions of sex work. Efforts in the fight against HIV infection must be intensified to reduce new infections among FSW.