Long-term effects of condom promotion programmes for vaginal and oral sex on sexually transmitted infections among sex workers in Singapore


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Abstract

Objectives:To evaluate the long-term impact of condom promotion programmes for vaginal and oral sex among female brothel-based sex workers in Singapore.Design:A pre-test/post-test comparison group followed by a time series design was used to compare trends in condom use for vaginal sex and cervical gonorrhoea incidence from 1990 to 2002 across cross-sectional samples of sex workers before and after programme implementation in 1995. The subsequent condom promotion programme for oral sex was evaluated using the interrupted time series with a retrospective pre-test to post-test matched control group design.Methods:Sex workers completed a questionnaire before and 6 months after participation in educational sessions. Cervical and pharyngeal swabs were taken monthly for cultures for Neisseria gonorrhoeae.Results:Consistent condom use for vaginal sex increased significantly from < 45.0% before 1995 (pre-intervention period) to 95.1% in 2002, with a corresponding decline in cervical gonorrhoea incidence from > 30 to 2/1000 person-months. Adjustment for temporal changes in sociodemographic characteristics did not materially alter the trends. Consistent oral condom use increased significantly from < 50% before 1996 to 97.2% in 2002, with a corresponding decline in pharyngeal gonorrhoea from > 12 to 4.7/1000 person-months.Conclusion:The interventions produced sustained high levels of condom use for vaginal and oral sex with corresponding declines in cervical and pharyngeal gonorrhoea incidence.

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