Sexual healthcare of street prostitutes – a holistic approach

Sexual healthcare of street prostitutes – a holistic approach

S.V. Carr, A. Bigrigg, C. Thow

The Sandyford Initiative, Glasgow, UK

Objective: To evaluate the application of a simple sexual health

screening questionnaire in eliciting the hidden healthcare needs of a population

of female sex workers in Scotland, the majority of whom are drug users.

Setting: Base 75, a dedicated health and social care service for

female street prostitutes in Glasgow. This service is open six nights a week

from 7.30–11.30pm. Base 75 is part of the Sandyford Initiative for sexual

health in Glasgow.

Method: In order to apply a social model of care to all parts of the

Sandyford service, a sexual health questionnaire was developed in order to

uncover hidden health needs in the clinic population. The questionnaire asks

about general health concerns, women’s health, and contains a small section on

concern about addictions and violence. The questionnaire is designed to be

administered by the doctor or nurse conducting a clinical consultation with the

client. Over a six month period the opportunity to participate was offered to a

client sample at Base 75. The results were collated and analysed using Microsoft


Results: 56 women from Base 75, 527 women from genitourinary medicine

and 2113 female family planning attenders completed the questionnaire.





Heterosexual   53 (94%) 537 (97%) 1970 (99%)
Been physically assaulted   27 (48%) 37 (6%) 126 (6%)
Concerned about menstruation   20 (36%) 57 (4%) 302 (14%)
Concerned about urinary incontinence   11 (20%) 20 (3%) 62 (3%)
Wish to discuss pregnancy




11 (2%) 109


Conclusion: As expected, this population showed a high prevalence of

experience of violence, however a considerable leave of concern about

gynaecological problems, such as menstruation, abortion and miscarriage was also

revealed to be higher than the general clinic population. A structured

questionnaire is therefore an appropriate way of eliciting hidden health needs

in a high risk group. This should be included when designing services for the


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