A new research has found numerous sex workers in Shanghai, China are unaware of HIV/AIDS and are engaging in very risky sexual activities.

The study was led by Cai Y and colleagues from Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine and other organizations. The researchers noted that only 60.8 percent of the sex workers participating in the survey properly answered questions regarding HIV/AIDS.

Due to rapid booming economy in China, the Asian giant is also seeing a huge increase in HIV/AIDS cases.

The researchers are convinced that female sex workers have contributed to the escalating epidemic of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases in this giant country.

Cai and colleagues surveyed 423 female sex workers from five districts of Shanghai including three suburbs and two downtown areas.

Of 423 participants, 33.4 percent reported they had ever engaged in sexual activities with their customer without the use of condoms and 51.2 percent said condom breakage or slippage had occurred at least once.

Sixty six percent of sex workers reported having non-customer sexual partners such as boyfriends or husbands and condom usage among these partners were only 34 percent.

The researchers recommended that "promotion of HIV/AIDS-related knowledge be targeted towards FSWs in Shanghai, particularly those operating in the suburbs.

The study was published in the June 2010 issue of BMC Public Health.

China says that at least 740,000 people are living with HIV, but the actual number could be far higher.