Developing a Probability Sample of Prostitutes

Sample Design for the RAND Study of HIV Infection and Risk Behaviors in Prostitutes

by Sandra H. Berry, Naihua Duan, David E. Kanouse


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This Note outlines a preliminary sampling plan for a study of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and risk behaviors of Los Angeles prostitutes that will be conducted by The RAND Corporation. This study will contribute to understanding of heterosexual transmission of the HIV virus by focusing on female prostitutes, their characteristics and behaviors, and the role they may play in the epidemiology of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), the incurable, fatal disease caused by the HIV virus. The study aims to estimate the size of the prostitute population and its distribution according to manner of solicitation; characterize prostitute career patterns; test prostitutes' blood samples to determine the extent of HIV infection; measure risk behaviors that can transmit HIV infection; estimate the numbers and percentages of sexual acts that occur between HIV-infected prostitutes and their customers; and examine the relationships among HIV antibody status, prostitute characteristics, and risk and preventive behaviors. This study will provide unique data that may help to predict the future course of the AIDS epidemic and suggest intervention strategies for groups at risk of infection.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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