"The phenomenon of prostitution has changed over recent years in Spain, going from prostitution as an activity carried out by Spanish women, often injecting drug users, to a situation where it is carried out by women from other countries, which has led to behavioral and social changes," lead author Cinta Folch, a Centre for Epidemiological Studies into Sexually-Transmitted Diseases and AIDS in Catalonia, said in a statement.
The study, published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, found the Spanish women were the least likely to use a condom with their clients. However, only 10.8 percent of the 400 women interviewed were native Spaniards, and these tended to be older women who were injecting drug users -- the rest came from Latin America (30.7 percent), Eastern Europe (32.5 percent) and Africa (26 percent).
The researchers found that 95.5 percent of the sex workers used condoms during vaginal sex with clients, but that they did not ordinarily use them with their regular partners.
The study also showed the rate of HIV infection to be 1.8 percent, Chlamydia trachomatis at 5.5 percent and Neisseria gonorrhoeae 0.5 percent.
The HIV infection rates were significantly higher among the Spanish sex workers, at 9.3 percent. In addition, 49.7 percent of the women interviewed reported incidents in the past six months in which condoms had split.