Sex Workers: Prevention Programmes

Export Indicator

Percentage of sex workers reached with HIV prevention programmes
What it measures

It measures progress in implementing basic elements of HIV prevention programmes for sex workers .


Sex workers are often difficult to reach with HIV prevention programmes. However, in order to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS among sex workers as well as into the general population, it is important that they access these services.
Note: Countries with generalized epidemics may also have a concentrated sub-epidemic among one or more most-at-risk populations. If so, they should calculate and report this indicator for those populations.


Number sex workers who replied “yes” to both questions.


Total number of sex workers surveyed.


Numerator / Denominator

Method of measurement

Behavioural surveillance or other special surveys.
Respondents are asked the following questions:
1. Do you know where you can go if you wish to receive an HIV test?
2. In the last twelve months, have you been given condoms? (e.g. through an outreach service, drop-in centre or sexual health clinic)
Scores for each of the individual questions—based on the same denominator—are required in addition to the score for the composite indicator.
Whenever possible, data for sex workers should be collected through civil society organizations that have worked closely with this population in the field.
Access to survey respondents as well as the data collected from them must remain confidential.
This indicator only covers two basic elements of prevention programmes for sex workers. It is recognised that the indicator does not measure the frequency with which members of these populations access services, nor the quality of these services. These limitations suggest that the indicator may overestimate the coverage of HIV prevention services or sex workers. While continued monitoring of this indicator is recommended in order to determine trends in coverage of minimum services, additional measures are required in order to accurately determine whether adequate HIV prevention services are being provided for these populations.
For further information, please consult the following references:
o WHO/UNODC/UNAIDS (2009). Technical Guide for Countries to set Targets for Universal Access to HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care for Injecting Drug Users. Geneva: WHO.
o UNAIDS (2007). A Framework for Monitoring and Evaluating HIV Prevention Programmes for Most-At-Risk Populations. Geneva: UNAIDS.
o UNAIDS (2007). Practical Guidelines for Intensifying HIV Prevention: Towards Universal Access. Geneva: UNAIDS.

Male, Female, Transgender
Age (<25/25+)

Measurement frequency




< (less than) 25 years

> (greater than) 25 years




Strengths and weaknesses

Accessing and/or surveying sex worker populations can be challenging. Consequently, data obtained may not be based on a representative sample of the national, sex worker population being surveyed. If there are concerns that the data are not based on a representative sample, these concerns should be reflected in the interpretation of the survey data. Where different sources of data exist, the best available estimate should be used. Information on the sample size, the quality and reliability of the data, and any related issues should be included in the report submitted with this indicator.
If the data are subnational, please provide the disaggregation by administrative area in the comment field. Please submit the digital version of any available survey reports using the upload tool.
The inclusion of these indicators for reporting purposes should not be interpreted to mean that these services alone are sufficient for HIV prevention programmes for the populations. The set of key interventions described above should be part of a comprehensive HIV prevention programme, which also includes elements such as provision of HIV prevention messages, (e.g. through outreach programmes and peer education), treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and others. For further information on the elements of comprehensive HIV prevention programmes for sex workers please see the Practical Guidelines for Intensifying HIV Prevention: Towards Universal Access.
This indicator asks about services accessed in the past 12 months. If you have data available on another time period, such as the last 3 or 6 months or the last 30 days, please include this additional data in the comments section of the reporting tool.
To maximize the utility of these data, it is recommended that the same sample used for the calculation of this indicator be used for the calculation of the other indicators related to these populations.
Several countries have in previous reporting rounds reported HIV prevalence among subpopulations of transgender women through the additional comments field in the GARPR online reporting tool. This demonstrates that the data are feasible to obtain in different settings.
In addition to the above requested data, please report programme data if available for this indicator using the text box provided in the online reporting platform.

Further information

For further information, please consult the following references:
A framework for monitoring and evaluating HIV prevention programmes for most-at-risk populations. Geneva, UNAIDS, 2007.
Practical guidelines for intensifying HIV prevention: towards universal access. Geneva, UNAIDS, 2007.
Operational Guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluation of HIV Programmes for Sex Workers, Men who have Sex with Men, and Transgender People. MEASURE Evaluation (