This will go along way in helping the sex workers during this COVID-19 hard times.
In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity. Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is. This was part of what UPENDO Group, one of the strongest Female Sex workers group (FSWs) who was part of the groups trained on Village Banking on how they can improve on their livelihood. After a long journey. They decided to show their gratitude’s. They took their time and sacrificed to show their appreciation. Salute to UPENDO Group. It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever – the one who recognizes the challenges and does something about it. Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
Key populations are defined groups who, due to specific higher-risk behaviours, are at increased risk of HIV irrespective of the epidemic type or local context. Also, they often have legal and social issues related to their behaviours that increase their vulnerability to HIV. These guidelines focus on five key populations: 1) men who have sex with men, 2) people who inject drugs, 3) people in prisons and other closed settings, 4) sex workers and 5) transgender people. People in prisons and other closed settings are included in these guidelines also because of the often high levels of incarceration of the other groups and the increased risk behaviours and lack of HIV services in these settings. The key populations are important to the dynamics of HIV transmission. They also are essential partners in an effective response to the epidemic (1).
Kenya Key Population Consortium wrote to partners and donors on the proposal by the Kenya Government – funded by the Global Fund (GFTAM) and with technical assistance from PEPFAR – to use biometric fingerprinting for the collection of Key Population size estimates during upcoming IBBS Study.
The communication highlighted fears of safety that the populations faced with the use of biometrics due to criminalization of the three target groups for the study.
Consultative meetings were held with Government and stakeholders post the letter to try and come to an agreeable conclusion and the consortium reached out to researchers, allies and partners on safe methods of data collection and would also minimize duplication fears by the Government.
The Kenya Key Population would like to share this after the various meetings with partners, donors and Government.
- We would like to reiterate that the Kenya Key Population Consortium is in support of the IBBS study and its component of collection of size estimate for key populations but do not support the use of biometrics as a method of data collection.
- The Consortium believes that any use of biomarkers—finger printing, iris scanning, toe scanning—will introduce fear and uncertainty among communities facing criminalization about the safety of healthcare clinics. This will serve only to drive people away from healthcare and reduce participation in the IBBS.
- The Consortium also notes that experts suggest previous estimates significantly under-estimate the size of key populations, so evidence suggests under-sampling is a far greater concern than duplication.
- Size estimation surveys do not require such biomarkers—capture/recapture as well as a range of other methodologies have been used with success (although they generate conservative estimates, see point 3).
- Highly respected researchers have collected data through referral systems and have not had major challenges of duplication of participants that would skew the findings.
- Most of the highly respected key populations estimates have not used biomarkers in any form.
- Methods researchers have effectively used in these studies to reduce duplication of participants without the use of biometrics include UIC introduction for all health system users, not just for key populations (which could help with retention and mobility), effective staff training and timely completion of the study without major staff turnover, which would ensure repeat visitors would be noticed by staff, coupons for referrals which are linked to each other, to help identify clusters of unusual answers, research notes that highlight physical features/characteristics of the participants (linked to the coupon) and would be able to be used to identify repeat participants, entry of characteristic data of participants in real time could also reduce duplication of numbers in the different study locations.
- Despite the widespread call for data disaggregation, there has been relatively little discussion on the concrete methods of data storage that ensure safety of data collected and implications of data falling in the wrong hands. Methods of storage of data can pose challenges if the safety, handling and security are not of high quality. There are still questions on data access by unauthorized persons and capacity by various sections of government to force data handlers to share information collected. Our research of current methods of storage of data collected from Kenya (SWOP Clinic) have very basic methods of data storage that does not ensure safety of end users. Kenya also has example of cases where data for people living with HIV being collected without the consent by government in an effort to reach children living with HIV. Kindly refer to the KELIN case on the presidential directive on HIV data collection
- The use of coded fingerprints does not stop unauthorized persons who are unable to gain access the the larger database but have access to the data collection machines from using them at areas considered as hotspots to identify key populations whose data is in the system without the need to access the larger database.
A human rights approach to data disaggregation requires not only reaching the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, but implies ensuring that high human rights driven safeguards are in place for the collection, processing, analysis and storage. The use of biometrics has no benefit such as increase of retention and adherence and other programmatic benefits to the communities and will only be used to reduce challenges of duplication. The use of biometrics will only increase the fears of already stigmatized and criminalized communities to access services and increase the level of the threat of harassment by law enforcement agencies in the country. The Kenya Key Population Consortium retains its stand: We do not support the use of any biometric data collection but instead recommend enhancing the use of the other methods to ensure a high quality study generating data in order to promote and defend the human rights of Key Population to quality, stigma-free services.
The Kenya Key Population Consortium consists of networks of sex workers, men having sex with men and people who inject and use drugs in Kenya
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection also known as the ‘clap’ or ‘drip’
Gonorrhoea can be treated with antibiotics, but doctors are finding the condition is becoming resistant to some common antibiotics.
What causes gonorrhoea?
Gonorrhoea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the mucous membranes of the body. Gonorrhoea bacteria can grow in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening of the womb), uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body) in women and men. The bacteria can also grow in the mouth, throat and anus.
How do I know if I have gonorrhoea?
Not all people infected with gonorrhoea have symptoms, so knowing when to seek treatment can be tricky. When symptoms do occur, they often appear from two to ten days after exposure, but can take up to 30 days and include the following:
Gonorrhoea symptoms in women
1. Greenish yellow or whitish discharge from the vagina
2. Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
3. Burning when urinating
Conjunctivitis (red, itchy eyes)
4. Bleeding between periods
5. Spotting after intercourse
6. Swelling of the vulva (vulvitis)
7. Burning in the throat (due to oral sex)
8. Swollen glands in the throat (due to oral sex)
In some women, symptoms are so mild that they go unnoticed.
Many women with gonorrhoea discharge think they have a yeast infection and self-treat with medications purchased over-the-counter. Because vaginal discharge can be a sign of a number of different problems, it is best to always seek the advice of a doctor to ensure correct diagnosis and treatment.
Gonorrhoea symptoms in men
1. Greenish yellow or whitish discharge from the penis
2. Burning when urinating
3. Burning in the throat (due to oral sex)
4. Painful or swollen testicles
5. Swollen glands in the throat (due to oral sex)
In men, symptoms usually appear five to seven days after infection.
Can gonorrhoea be cured?
Yes. Gonorrhoea can be treated and cured. However, gonorrhoea resistance to antibiotics is a growing problem according to Public Health England.
This infection is very good at developing resistance to new drugs all of the time and ‘frontline’ treatments have to keep being changed to keep ahead.
What happens if I don’t get my gonorrhoea treated?
Untreated gonorrhoea can cause serious and permanent problems in both women and men.
In women, if left untreated, the infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which may damage the fallopian tubes (the tubes connecting the ovaries to the uterus) or even lead to infertility, and untreated gonorrhoea infection could increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilised egg implants and develops outside the uterus), a very dangerous condition.
In men, gonorrhoea can cause epididymo-orchitis, a painful condition of the testicles that can sometimes lead to infertility if left untreated. Without prompt treatment, gonorrhoea can also affect the prostate and can lead to scarring inside the urethra, making urination difficult.
Gonorrhoea can spread to the blood or joints. This condition can be life-threatening. Also, people with gonorrhoea can more easily contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. People with HIV infection and gonorrhoea are more likely than people with HIV infection alone to transmit HIV to someone else.
How does gonorrhoea affect pregnancy and childbirth?
Gonorrhoea in a pregnant woman can cause premature delivery or spontaneous abortion. The infected mother may give the infection to her infant as the baby passes through the birth canal during delivery. This can cause blindness, joint infection, or a life-threatening blood infection in the baby. Treatment of gonorrhoea as soon as it is detected in pregnant women will lessen the risk of these complications. Pregnant women should consult a doctor for appropriate medications.
How can I prevent infection?
To reduce your risk of infection:
1. Use condoms correctly every time you have sex.
2. Limit your number of sexual partners, and do not go back and forth between partners.
3. Practise sexual abstinence, or limit sexual contact to one uninfected partner.
4.If you think you are infected, avoid sexual contact and seek medical advice.
Any genital symptoms such as discharge or burning during urination or an unusual sore or rash should be a signal to stop having sex and to seek medical advice promptly. If you are told you have gonorrhoea or any other sexually transmitted infection and receive treatment, you should notify all of your recent sex partners so that they can be tested and treated.
The Court of Appeals in Mombasa has ruled that the use of forced anal examinations by the Kenyan state is unlawful.
On Thursday 22nd March 2018, a three judge bench handed down a ruling in a case brought forward by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) appealing the state’s cruel and degrading treatment of two Kenyan men while under arrest in 2015. The men were arrested in Kwale county, on suspicion that they were gay. They were then subjected to forced anal examinations and HIV testing under a magistrate’s order to determine if they had engaged in consensual sexual acts in private—a crime punishable with up to 14 years imprisonment in Kenya.
The violating examinations, which include being made to lie with legs up in a humiliating position and having instruments forced into your rectum, are widely accepted to have no medical merit. NGLHRC has long argued that the tests are a violation of rights to privacy and dignity and amount to torture.
After a three year legal and public advocacy campaign to end the practice in Kenya, the Court of Appeals ruled in our favor, stating that our clients rights had been violated. We cannot underscore the significance of this win.
Decriminalisation refers to the removal of all criminal laws relating to the operation of the sex industry. The decriminalisation model aims to support occupational health and safety and workplace issues through existing legal and workplace mechanisms.
Refers to the use of criminal laws to regulate or control the sex industry by determining the legal conditions under which the sex industry can operate. Legalisation can be highly regulatory or merely define the operation of the various sectors of the sex industry. It can vary between rigid controls under legalised state controlled systems to privatising the sex industry within a legally defined framework. It is often accompanied by strict criminal penalties for sex industry businesses that operate outside the legal framework.
Sex workers rights organizations use the term ‘decriminalization’ to mean the removal of criminal laws against prostitution. ‘Decriminalization’ is usually used to refer to total decriminalization, that is, the repeal of criminal laws against consensual adult sexual activity, in commercial and non-commercial contexts. Sex worker rights advocates call for decriminalization of all aspects of consensual prostitution. Some documents refer to ‘decriminalization of prostitution resulting from individual decision.’ Asserting the right to work as a prostitutes, advocates claim their right to freedom of choice of management. They claim that laws against pimping (living off the earnings) are often used against domestic partners and children, and these laws serve to to prevent prostitutes from organizing their businesses and working together for mutual protection. They call for the repeal of current laws that interfere with their rights of freedom of travel and freedom of association. Many sex worker organizations look towards labor laws and anti-discrimination policies to support rights and fair working conditions. Civil rights and human rights advocates from a variety of perspectives call for enforcement of laws against fraud, abuse, violence and coercion to protect sex workers/prostitutes from abuse and exploitation.
The ‘regulation of prostitution’ usually refers to the criminal regulation of prostitution, but sex worker rights advocates also refer to regulation in terms of both civil regulation and self-regulation. They call for sex worker regulation of businesses, and civil codes regulating sex work establishments with regard to the conditions and rights of workers. Those who call for autonomy support solo and collective work arrangements, and sex worker/prostitutes’ control of their own lives and businesses. The discussion of regulation is primitive and it is difficult to invoke concepts of self-regulation in a context that presumes police control over prostitutes.
N.B SEX WORK IS LIKE ANY OTHER WORK. I WONT STOP FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHTS OF SEX WORKERS .
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It’s caused by infection with the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It tends to infect warm, moist areas of the body, including the:
-urethra (the tube that drains urine from the urinary bladder)
Gonorrhea passes from person to person through unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex. People with numerous sexual partners or those who don’t use a condom are at greatest risk of infection. The best protections against infection are abstinence, monogamy (sex with only one partner), and proper condom usage. Behaviors that make a person more likely to engage in unprotected sex also increase the likelihood of infection. These behaviors include alcohol abuse and illegal drug abuse, particularly intravenous drug use