Prostitute women and public health.

BMJ 1988; 297 doi: (Published 17 December 1988)
Cite this as: BMJ 1988;297:1585

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Dear Editors,

In Athens, Greece alone, for a total population of 5,000,000 there exist 20,000 illegal prostitutes. [1][2][3][4][5][6]

Not having a licence, these women are never screened for STDs.

Illegal prostitutes cost much less: a median of 20 euros for a performance. [10]

Recently, after some random arrests, a 22 year old illegal prostitute tested positive for HIV.

The judge ruled that her photos should be distributed to the press in order to alert men who might have had unprotected intercourses with her. Prophylactic antiretroviral therapy would be scheduled. [7][8][9][10][12][13]

In just 48 hours the Greek Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) received phone calls from 1,000 terrorised men who reported unprotected intercourses, during the last month, with this particular prostitute! [10][11]

Apart from confirming widespread irresponsible sexual behaviour among Greek men [14], these facts also underline the inadequacy of Police Authorities to tackle the problem of trafficking illegal prostitutes, the inadequacy of Health Authorities to screen all women working in the sex industry, the threat for public health in Greece.

Furthermore, exposing the 22 year old prostitute to the press does not contribute to public health as much as exposing those 1,000 Greek men who had unprotected intercourse with her and probably never informed their wives or girlfriends afterwards...

If a single woman has 1,000 unprotected intercourses with different men per month, and there exist 20,000 such women in Athens, one can calculate that millions of Greek men and their wives are at risk.
















Competing interests: None declared

Stavros Saripanidis, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Private Surgery, Thessaloniki, Greece

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