We tested 1305 female prostitutes from eight areas of the United States for antibodies to human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I/II. Overall, 6.7% were human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I/II seropositive (with antibodies to both gag and env gene products). The seroprevalence rates ranged from 0% in southern Nevada to 25.4% in Newark, NJ. Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I/II seropositivity was independently associated with race (odds ratio, 4.68), intravenous drug use (odds ratio, 2.94), hepatitis B seropositivity (odds ratio, 2.87), recruitment in Newark (odds ratio, 2.34), and more years of sexual activity (odds ratio, 1.08 per year of sexual activity). Groups with high rates included blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians, and the rates in these groups were significantly higher than among whites and Asian Americans for women both with and without a history of intravenous drug use. Among intravenous drug users, the only other independent associations were more years of sexual activity and recruitment in Newark; and in non-intravenous drug users, hepatitis B seropositivity. These data show that human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I/II infection is present among female prostitutes in some areas of the United States. Further studies are needed to evaluate patterns of transmission and long-term health effects.
Khabbaz RF, Darrow WW, Hartley TM, Witte J, Cohen JB, French J, Gill PS, Potterat J, Sikes RK, Reich R, Kaplan JE, Lairmore MD. Seroprevalence and Risk Factors for HTLV-I/II Infection Among Female Prostitutes in the United States. JAMA. 1990;263(1):60-64. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440010058030