Prostitutes working in the Logan Circle area and their customers expressed little concern yesterday about research by the federal government that shows many female prostitutes are carriers of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Most women said they are careful to protect themselves against venereal disease by supplying their customers with condoms and they believed that would protect them against AIDS, as well. Several of the men interviewed said the report made them hesitate, but that they decided to use the services of prostitutes anyway.
The Centers for Disease Control report, based on blood testing of prostitutes in Miami and Seattle, shows that the level of the AIDS virus among prostitutes is far above the rates at which others in society are infected with the AIDS virus.
The government warned men to avoid prostitutes if they want to protect themselves from the AIDS virus; the recently released report recommended that sexual contact with people in high-risk groups be avoided or that condoms be used if sexual encounters occur.
One prostitute, who identifed herself only as Erica, said she refuses to have sex with a man unless he uses a condom.
Another woman, who gave her name as Nikki, said she thought the report was propaganda put out by the government to scare men away from prostitutes.
"I know 90 percent of the girls working out here, and they don't have AIDS," she said. "That report came from the Moral Majority people, who don't like anything."
Another woman said she gets a blood test every three months.
"I'm clean," she said. "I pass up $400 a day in order to be safe. If they don't want to use condoms, I'm not interested. Most of my dates are married men, and we all need to be careful."
The women said they were worried that publicity about the report would ruin the weekend business, which they said is more lucative than weekday work.
A man wearing a blue mechanic's uniform approached Nikki and the two walked to a nearby apartment building. As he was returning to his truck 20 minutes later, the man, who would not give his name, said that the government report "should make me hesitate." He said he regularly visited the 14th Street area to be with prostitutes. "I guess I should be more careful, but I plan on coming back again," he said.
Other men, who hailed prostitutes from cars and trucks, said they just weren't worried. Most said that, so far, they haven't caught any diseases and they aren't worried about catching anything now.