To the Editor.—
We read with interest the report of Tirelli et al1 on the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibodies in intravenous drug-addicted prostitutes in Italy. We were particularly struck by the high rate of HIV-antibody positivity in this population, reflecting a situation that is remarkably different from that in Israel.As part of a survey on the prevalence of HIV antibodies in intravenous drug users in Israel, 54 women were tested; 27 of them were prostitutes. Antibodies to HIV were detected in two (3.7%) of the women, one of whom was a prostitute.We conclude that prostitution probably does not constitute an additional risk factor in the prevalence of HIV antibodies among intravenous drug—addicted women. We wonder whether the much higher proportion of HIV antibody—positive intravenous drug addicts in Italy can be attributed to needle sharing with US soldiers, something that does not happen in Israel.
Dan M, Rock M, Bar-Shani S, Tirelli U. HIV Antibodies in Drug-Addicted Prostitutes. JAMA. 1987;257(8):1047. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390080037011