The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between socio-demographic characteristics, risky sexual behaviour, alcohol use and transactional sex among female bar workers in Yaounde, Cameroon.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among a representative sample of 410 female bar workers, recruited through a modified version of venue-based cluster sampling technique from May to June 2017. Transactional sex was defined as having received money/gifts in exchange for sex with any sexual partner in the past 12 months. Logistic regression models were performed to identify the factors associated with transactional sex. The level of statistical significance was set at p< = 0.05.
About 14.9% (n = 61) of respondents reported to have engaged in transactional sex, 83.7% (n = 338) had multiple sexual partners at the time of the study, 14.4% (n = 55) had sex with one or more of their male customers in the past 6 months. Almost 73.4% (n = 301) reported alcohol use. Of these, 37.2% (n = 112) were frequent alcohol consumers. About 17.6% (n = 72) reported to have had unprotected sex under the influence of alcohol in the past 6 months. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that those who engaged in transactional sex were more likely to have had sex with a male customer in the past 6 months (aOR = 7.34; 95% CI, 3.63–16.98), had sex under the influence of alcohol in the past 6 months (aOR = 2.42; 95% CI, 1.18–4.96) and frequent alcohol consumers (aOR = 2.06; 95%CI, 1.04–4.10). Respondents who had their last sexual intercourse 4 weeks or more prior to the study (aOR = 0.26; 95% CI, 0.08–0.84) were less likely to have engaged in transactional sex.
Our study concludes that female bar workers are exposed to male customers and engage in risky sexual practices including transaction sex. Most of them also consume alcohol which increases their risk of HIV and STI acquisition. They are a high-risk group that need to be targeted with HIV prevention interventions.