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Relevant questions were inserted into the questionnaires given to two behavioural surveillance groups—female attendees of sexually transmitted disease STD clinics and FSWs. This accounted for 3. Little attention has been paid to the size of this population. Given the fact that commercial sex is illegal in China and sex workers usually work in various entertainment establishments with legal working licences, 3 , 11 it is difficult to develop standardised methods to estimate the size of this population.
Unlike CRC methods, with the multiplier methods used in this study, it is not necessary to match individuals. The key issue in using this method is to find two sources of information that overlap in a certain way.
This provided a good opportunity for such estimation. The basic principle of this method is that the number of people belonging to the population being estimated who appear at selected institutions or services during a certain time period is equal to the total size of the estimated population multiplied by the proportion of the population who attended the selected institutions or services during the same time period.
One big and one small city were chosen as the study regions: Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou Province, southwest China, with an urban population of 1. In Guiyang, two criteria were considered during the selection process: selected clinics should be located in different parts of the city and the average number of female clients should not be too small. A quarter of these clinics were then selected from each subgroup to provide the Guiyang sample. A list of the STD clinics that were selected for use in the survey of female STD attendees was highlighted on the FSW questionnaires by including the names and addresses of the clinics and the names of doctors.
FSWs who agreed to participate were anonymously interviewed at their workplaces as to whether they had visited the selected clinics in the given time period as well as times and dates of their visits. For sex workers who visited the selected STD clinics several times during the study period, only the first visit was considered for calculating the proportion p2. None of those approached refused to be interviewed. Most women were young, had less than a high school education and were diagnosed to have at least one type of STD.