HIV Testing and Counseling Among Female Sex Workers: A Systematic Literature Review

Anna Tokar*, Jacqueline E.W. Broerse, James Blanchard, Maria Roura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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HIV testing uptake continues to be low among Female Sex Workers (FSWs). We synthesizes evidence on barriers and facilitators to HIV testing among FSW as well as frequencies of testing, willingness to test, and return rates to collect results. We systematically searched the MEDLINE/PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS databases for articles published in English between January 2000 and November 2017. Out of 5036 references screened, we retained 36 papers. The two barriers to HIV testing most commonly reported were financial and time costs—including low income, transportation costs, time constraints, and formal/informal payments—as well as the stigma and discrimination ascribed to HIV positive people and sex workers. Social support facilitated testing with consistently higher uptake amongst married FSWs and women who were encouraged to test by peers and managers. The consistent finding that social support facilitated HIV testing calls for its inclusion into current HIV testing strategies addressed at FSW.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2018


  • Female sex workers (FSWs)
  • HIV diagnosis
  • HIV testing
  • Systematic review


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