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Sampling studies to estimate the HIV prevalence rate in female commercial sex workers. Correspondence to. METHODS: The studies were classified according to the adequacy or not of the sample size to estimate HIV prevalence rate and according to the sampling method probabilistic or convenience. Most of the studies employed convenience samples. The sample size was not adequate to estimate HIV prevalence rate in 35 studies.
It was observed that there was an increase in the number of published studies since , as well as in the number of studies that used probabilistic samples. This represents a large advance in the monitoring of risk behavior practices and HIV prevalence rate in this group. The several measures being adopted to prevent HIV dissemination, both at national and international levels, are based on the natural history of the infection, the experience of AIDS-related health programs, and the results of simulations and mathematical models that seek to translate the dynamics of the disease transmission.
From the epidemiological point of view, it is known that there are population subgroups presenting a higher risk of HIV-infection, such as men who have sex with other men MSM , injection drug users IDU , and female commercial sex workers SW , who are the most affected and have been infected on the early days of the epidemics.
It is also known that sexually-transmitted diseases STD act as cofactors to promote disease transmission; and that sexual practices, such as multiple sex partners and irregular condom use are important determinants. From mathematical models' point of view, sexual relations patterns among the population subgroups constitute other important factor in the dissemination of HIV, as small alterations in the rate of contacts between the low-risk segment and the high-risk one can significantly change the dissemination of the epidemics.
In Brazil, current efforts are being made to carry out several studies that allow the estimation of the prevalence of HIV and other STDs and characterize the risk practices and behavior in the groups at higher risk of HIV infection, particularly SW.