February 27, 1987

HIV Antibodies in Drug-Addicted Prostitutes-Reply

JAMA. 1987;257(8):1047. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390080037012

In Reply.—  The aim of our letter was to caution US soldiers in Aviano, Italy, against using local drug-addicted prostitutes, because a high proportion of them (58%) are infected by HIV. The high prevalence of HIV-antibody positivity among drug addicts in Italy is not attributable to sharing needles with US soldiers, since the proportion of seropositivity among this population is high (between 29% and 76%1,2) in areas of Italy without US bases and the frequency of HIV seropositivity among US soldiers in Europe seems not to exceed 5%.3The difference between the Italian and the Israeli figures is probably due to different behaviors, in particular the sharing of infected needles, although regional variations in HIV-antibody seropositivity among US intravenous drug abusers have been reported without any clear explanation.4,5 Prostitution does not constitute an additional risk factor in the prevalence of HIV antibodies among women addicted to intravenous