Condom use among commercial sex workers

Export Indicator

The percentage of young commercial sex workers who used a condom the last time they had sex with a client.
What it measures

This indicator is one measure of the success of campaigns promoting condom use in commercial sex.
One of the goals of programmes that work with sex workers is to increase the number of these workers who always use a condom and thus are protected from HIV infection. The indicator refers to men and women actually working as providers of sex (though in many countries this indicator may be relevant only for young women). The data can be compared to data on commercial sex as reported by clients.


The number of commercial sex workers aged 15−24 years who used a condom the last time they had sex with a client.


Commercial sex workers aged 15−24 years who were interviewed.

Method of measurement

In a special survey of commercial sex workers the respondents are asked whether they used a condom with their most recent client.
This indicator should be disaggregated by sex and by the age groups 15–19, 20–24 and 15–24 years.

Measurement frequency

Age group: 15 years - 19 years, 15 years - 24 years, 20 years - 24 years

Education: N/A

Gender: Male, Female

Geographic location: N/A

Pregnancy status: N/A

Sector: N/A

Target: N/A

Time period: N/A

Type of orphan: N/A

Vulnerability status: N/A

Explanation of the numerator
Explanation of the denominator
Strengths and weaknesses

In areas where the patronage of commercial sex is highly stigmatized, clients may hesitate to report visits to commercial sex workers. Moreover, clients may desire to affirm that they used a condom at last sex even though they did not, especially in areas where programmes have stressed condom use in commercial and other sex. The indicator seeks responses from sex workers who may not have the same motivation to give socially desirable answers and who offer a different perspective.
A limitation of surveys among high-risk groups is that it is not usually possible to find a representative probability sample. This means that it is difficult to estimate the extent to which an indicator based on the data describes all members of such a group. Furthermore, it is difficult to duplicate a survey of this kind at a later date with in order to examine trends.

Further information