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Archive for May, 2015


Sex Workers and HIV/AIDS

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Sex workers, along with other key affected populations (KAPs) such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who inject drugs (PWID), are often considered at risk of HIV. UNAIDS defines sex workers as: Female, male and transgender adults and young people who receive money or goods in exchange for sexual services, either regularly or occasionally. Sex work varies between and within countries and communities. Sex work may vary in the degree to which it is more or less “formal” or organized, and in the degree to which it is distinct from other social and sexual relationships and types of sexual-economic exchange. 1 Although sex workers are one of the groups most affected by HIV, they are also one of the groups most likely to respond well to HIV prevention campaigns. Proof of this can be seen in countries such as Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, India and Thailand, where reductions in national HIV prevalence have been helped by initiatives targeting sex workers and their clients. – See more at: http://www.avert.org/sex-workers-and-hivaids.htm#sthash.qA4pe8Al.dpuf

Social and legal factors

Sex workers are often stigmatised, marginalised and criminalised by the societies in which they live, and in various ways, these factors can contribute to their vulnerability to HIV.

Even though sex work is at least partially legal in many countries, the law rarely protects sex workers. Around the world, there is a severe lack of legislation and policies protecting sex workers who may be at risk of violence from both state and non-state actors such as law enforcement, partners, family members and their clients. 11

For example, a sex worker who is raped will generally have little hope of bringing charges against their attacker. The lack of protection in such cases leaves sex workers open to abuse, violence and rape, creating an environment, which can facilitate HIV transmission. 12

Non-governmental organisations report that almost two thirds of the countries they work in have laws that make it difficult for them to work with sex workers. 13 In some countries, police use the possession of condoms as evidence that somebody is involved in sex work, further impeding sex workers’ efforts to protect themselves.

- See more at: http://www.avert.org/sex-workers-and-hivaids.htm#sthash.qA4pe8Al.dpuf

Protecting and Promoting the Rights of Sex Workers in Busia County

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Sex workers are some of the most marginalized people in Kenya often harassed by police and clients and forced to put them at enormous risk in order to earn a living for themselves and their families. We at Survivors Organization in Busia County believe that sex workers rights are human rights and act accordingly.
In partnership with Open Society Institute Foundation and American Jewish World Service, Survivors is working to reduce harassment and discrimination against sex workers. We work directly with sex workers to educate them on how human rights laws as well as Kenyan laws apply to them and support them to mobilize and act on issues of concern, aiming to create a more productive and less antagonistic relationship between themselves and both police.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Overview (STDs)

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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, venereal diseases) are among the most common infectious diseases in Africa today. STDs are sometimes referred to as sexually transmitted infections, since these conditions involve the transmission of an infectious organism between sex partners. More than 20 different STDs have been identified, and about 19 million men and women are infected each year in the Africa, according to the CDC (2010). Depending on the disease, the infection can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs, the anus, or the mouth; an infection can also be spread through contact with blood during sexual activity. STDs are infrequently transmitted by other types of contact (blood, body fluids or tissue removed from an STD infected person and placed in contact with an uninfected person). However, people that share unsterilized needles markedly increase the chance to pass many diseases, including STD’s (especially hepatitis B), to others. Some diseases are not considered to be officially an STD (for example, hepatitis types A, C, E) but are infrequently noted to be transferred during sexual activity. Consequently, some authors include them as STD’s, while others do not. Some lists of STD’s can vary, depending on whether the STD is usually transmitted by sexual contact or only infrequently transmitted. STDs affect men and women of all ages and backgrounds, including children. Many states require that Child Protective Services be notified if children are diagnosed with an STD. STDs have become more common in recent years, partly because people are becoming sexually active at a younger age, are having multiple partners, and do not use preventive methods to lessen their chance of acquiring an STD. Seniors show a marked increase in STDs in the last few years as many do not use condoms. People can pass STDs to sexual partners even if they themselves do not have any symptoms. Frequently, STDs can be present but cause no symptoms, especially in women (for example, chlamydia, genital herpes or gonorrhea). This can also occur in some men. Health problems and long-term consequences from STDs tend to be more severe for women than for men. Some STDs can cause pelvic infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may cause a tubo-ovarian abscess. The abscess, in turn, may lead to scarring of the reproductive organs, which can result in an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside the uterus), infertility or even death for a woman. Human papillomavirus infection (HPV infection), an STD, is a known cause of cancer of the cervix. Many STDs can be passed from a mother to her baby before, during, or immediately after birth. Because the method of becoming infected is similar with all STDs, a person often obtains more than one pathogenic organism at a time. For example, many people (about 50%) are infected at a single sexual contact with both gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Depending on the disease, STDs can be spread with any type of sexual activity. STDs are most often caused by viruses and bacteria. The following is a list of the most common STDs, their causes. Additionally, there are other infections (see STDs with asterisk mark*) that may be transmitted on occasion by sexual activity, but these are typically not considered to be STDs by many investigators:

Always use a condom when having sexual intercourse.