Men who pay for sex…Do partners need protecting?

Men who pay for sex…Do partners need protecting?

T M Groom, C Thow, and R Nandwani

Sandyford Initiative, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Background In the United Kingdom the National Attitudes

and Lifestyle Survey of 2000 found that 3.5% of men, outside London, pay for sex.

Little is known about these men and the risks they may convey to their partners

and other prostitutes. Men attending our large city centre Sexual health service

in Scotland were asked if they have been paid or have paid for sex, using a

validated sexual health questionnaire. We present some of the findings from a

retrospective case note review.

They will assist in more targeted Health Promotion towards these


Results Of 2665 completed questionnaires over an eighteen

month period 267 (10%) of men admitted to having paid or been paid for sex. 261

case notes were available for review, 259 had paid for sex, 6 men had been paid

for sex of whom 4 had also paid for sex themselves. Location of paid sex was

recorded in 232 sets of notes, 119 (51%) had paid for sex abroad, 93(40%) had

paid for sex in the clinic city, 26(11%) had paid for sex in other areas of the

United Kingdom. Only 4 clients had paid for sex both in the UK and abroad. In

173 cases, number of occasions of paid sex could be estimated. 46(27%) men had

paid for sex on multiple (5 or more) occasions, 27(16%) on more than one

occasion and 100(58%) on a single occasion. In 85 cases it was not possible to

elicit this information. 43% of men appeared to have paid for sex whilst in a

relationship; the average length of that relationship was 11.2 years.

In 77 cases where men had paid for sex abroad, 19(25%) reported

unprotected vaginal sex whereas men paying for sex locally admitted to

unprotected vaginal sex in 11 of 86 cases (12%). 14 of these 30 men reporting

unprotected vaginal sex were in a relationship (47%). Unprotected oral sex was

common all locations.

Conclusion Many men who are paying for sex are in

long-term relationships; those paying for sex abroad seem to take more risks

than those at home. Identifying these men, providing them with information

regarding the risks of acquiring sexual infections such as Syphilis and HIV in

different locations, and offering vaccinations against Hepatitis A and B, is

very important not least to protect their partners.

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