Needle-Sharing by Sex Workers Tied to Spread of Syphilis

By Dr. Matthew Watson

(HealthDay News) -- Needle-sharing among drug abusers may play as big a role as risky sexual behavior in the transmission of syphilis, a new study suggests.

American and Mexican researchers interviewed more than 900 female sex workers in the Mexican border towns of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, which are adjacent to San Diego and El Paso, Texas, respectively. The sex workers, who were also tested for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), operate legally in the two Mexican towns, which are located on major drug trafficking routes.

The researchers found that female sex workers who didn't have HIV, but tested positive for active syphilis infection, were more likely than those without active syphilis infection to inject drugs, to use illegal drugs before or during sex in the past month, and to have U.S. clients who had higher rates of drug use, including the use of injection drugs. Read more…

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