Abortion and AIDS are the two most common causes of death among Cambodian female sex workers, and AIDS is the most frequent cause of death among their children, according to a small new study.
Prostitution in poor countries with high H.I.V. rates has lethal consequences not just for women but for their infants, the study found. Mothers engage in riskier sex acts to feed their children, but because they are socially shunned or threatened with arrest, they often cannot get drugs that would prolong their lives or prevent them from infecting their babies.
The study, by investigators at Global Health Promise, a nonprofit based in Portland, Ore., that researches prostitution in poor countries, was an attempt to shed light on a little-studied corner of the AIDS epidemic. The group takes no position on whether prostitution should be legal, its director, Brian Willis, said.
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