Hospitals Encourage STD Testing after Sex Worker Tests Positive for HIV

sex workers
Photo by quinn norton (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons

A sex worker in Wanhua District recently tested positive for HIV at the Taipei City Hospital Kunming Prevention and Control Center, raising concerns of the number of people she possibly infected before her diagnosis, UDN reported.

According to the report, the over 50-year-old sex worker regularly entertained about 100 men per month, which has led healthcare workers to estimate about 700-800 people may be at risk. The woman had been tested previously and estimates are based on the date of the last health screening.

The medical center’s director Chuang Ping (莊苹) said that with a recent HIV screening campaign, sex workers in the area have been getting tested more regularly. Sex workers who test positive are immediately referred to specialists for treatment and encouraged to discontinue paid sexual encounters.

With increased screening, the medical community has found that younger sex workers in Taiwan are more commonly infected with gonorrhea and chlamydia, while those older than 50 are more often infected by syphilis. HIV/AIDS is less common among the sex workers who have been tested.

The last recorded HIV/AIDS case among sex workers was in 2014, making this was the first case in three years.

Chuang noted that sex workers in Wanhua District are able to choose their clients and force them to use condoms. However, older sex workers are less likely to encourage condom use in order to attract more customers. Chuang added that older sex workers are more likely to have regular clients, reducing the potential for an STD outbreak.

Healthcare workers are encouraging anyone who may have had an encounter with a sex worker to have a blood test immediately.

Taiwan recorded 2,400 new HIV/AIDS cases in 2016, the third highest figure in its history, bringing the total number of residents infected with the virus to 33,428, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). More than 90% of the cases reported were male.

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