Biological-behavioral surveillance surveys, which probe the risk behaviors and HIV vulnerability of female sex workers, have been conducted in a number of countries in the Arab region. Such facts and figures are only a snapshot of the lives of these women, hardly the big picture which is needed and which is only now starting to come into focus through greater research – harder with female sex workers than it is with almost any other group on the social margins. In the meantime, here’s a partial view:


HIV Testing / Prevalence (%)
Risk profile
Algeria 120 women in 4 municipalities 58 / 6.7 44% said they used a used a condom with their last client UNGASS Country Report Algeria, 2012
Egypt 200 women in 1 city 3 / 0

6% say they injected drugs in past year

25% used a condom during last commercial intercourse

HIV/AIDS Bio-Behavioral Surveillance Survey, 2010
Jordan 450 women in 4 cities 20 / 0

51% know that condoms can protect against HIV

33% consistently use condoms with commercial sex partners

UNGASS Country Report, Jordan, 2012
Lebanon 131 women in Beirut 79 / 0

88% know that condoms can protect against HIV in vaginal intercourse (although only 65% think the same of anal intercourse)

91% always use condoms with commercial partners (although 35% also said they were unable to use a condom with a client in the past month)

44% consider themselves at risk of HIV

“HIV/AIDS among female sex workers, drug users and men who have sex with men in Lebanon” by Ziyad Mahfoud et al.
Morocco 1447 women in 4 cities 25 / 2-5 50% say they used a condom at last same-sex intercourse UNGASS Country Report Morocco, 2012
Syria 400 women NA / NA

46% consider the prospect of HIV infection as probable

>80% have more than one client/day

13% say they use condoms consistently

45% said clients refuse condoms

UNGASS Country Report, Syria, 2012
Sudan 321 women in 6 cities 25 / 0.6-7.7 Depending on location, 4-55% report using a condom with last client UNGASS Country Report Sudan, 2012
Tunisia 998 women in 3 cities 13.4 / 0.6

55% report condom use at last same-sex intercourse

40% report unsafe sex with men and women

UNGASS Country Report, Tunisia, 2012
Yemen 301 women from 1 city 6 / 0 35% used a condom at last intercourse with a client UNGASS Country Report, Yemen, 2012