Commercial sex work: Psychiatric and medical aspects

Itzhak Z. Ben-Zion, Bella Zudakov, July Zwikel, Haim R. Belmaker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Commercial sex work has many medical and psychiatric implications. In recent years many papers on this matter have been published. However, many of these articles are based on opinions rather then on empiric fieldwork. Sex workers in the western world are not a major source of spread of venereal diseases. Nonetheless, it is important for medical decision makers to be aware of the health risks related to commercial sex work habits: for example, avoidance of condoms for oral sex, might be a risk factor for gonorrhea transmission. In field studies in Israel and abroad, it has been shown that sex workers are not always drug addicts or mentally ill; many of them see it as a legitimate form of work that is dictated by their needs, their social, personal and familial background. Commercial sex workers frequently suffer from emotional and somatic health problems that are often neglected. This review intends to examine the few empirical works that have been conducted on commercial sex workers, including our recent study performed in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-36+85
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • Abuse
  • Commercial sex work
  • Health and welfare
  • Mental health
  • Prostitution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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