To assess the prevalence and correlated factors of HIV-1 among Chinese and Vietnamese female sex workers (FSW) in the border county of Hekou, Yunnan province, China.A cross-sectional survey was conducted collecting information on demographics, sexual behavior, medical history, and drug use. Blood samples were obtained to test for HIV/STIs. Multivariate logistic regression model was used to examine associations between factors and HIV-1 infection.Of 345 FSWs who participated in this study, 112 (32.5%) were Chinese and 233 (67.5) were Vietnamese. Vietnamese FSWs were significantly more likely to be HIV-1 positive (7.7%) compared with Chinese FSWs (0.9%) (p = 0.009). In multivariate analysis, sexual debut at age ≤ 16 (OR 3.8: 95% CI: 1.4, 10.6), last client's payment <150 RMB ($22 USD) (OR:... 5.2, 95% CI; 1.7, 16.6), and HSV-2 (OR: 12.3; 95% CI: 1.6, 94.8) were significant for HIV-1 infection.Differences in HIV prevalence in Vietnamese and Chinese FSWs may be indicative of differential risk. It is important to characterize the nature of trans-border transmission in order to gain a better understanding of the potential impact on the international HIV epidemic. Understanding the correlated factors for HIV in Vietnamese and Chinese FSWs is important for designing interventions for this vulnerable population.