The promotion of consistent condom use is one of the messages passed on.
“There is the scare of violence – from clients who want to rape you, as well as harassment from police and City Council officers.” Susan and other sex workers also face the risk for HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections, unwanted pregnancies and a myriad of other health problems such as pneumonia. George Githuka, Programme Manager for key populations at the National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NASCOP).
“Female sex workers are what we call a high risk group due to their behaviour.
A 2009 Modes of Transmission study found that in Kenya, sex workers contribute to 14.1% of all new infections at a national level.
It is such figures that the Kenyan government, in recent years, has embarked on programmes that target this population.
Most of their activities are also criminalized, making it difficult for them to access health services, and also making it difficult for health workers to access them.
This means services that would help reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection do not effectively reach them,” he adds.One day, my neighbour asked me: “Why are you always asking us for money, yet you are a woman like us? Each night, Susan attends to between three to seven clients, charging between 200 – 300 shillings for each.Come I show you how to make easy money.” Susan, a class 8 drop-out then accompanied her friend to town and was immediately introduced to a client, whom she ‘serviced’. On very few lucky occasions, she gets a client who pays 1,000 shillings.Behaviour Change Programs According to UNAIDS, review of data in 50 countries showed that 3 out of every 25 female sex workers were HIV positive.Further, the chance of women who engage in sex work being infected with HIV is 13.5 times higher than others.Each day, she is assured that she will have money to buy food for her children.