The Star (Nairobi)

21 June 2012

Kenya: HIV Survey On Somali Sex Workers

A new survey dubbed 'Integrated Biological and Behavioral Surveillance among Migrant Female Sex Workers in Nairobi' has said that female sex workers from Somalia have little knowledge about HIV/Aids.

The survey, carried out by the International Organisation for Immigration and the National Organization of Peer Educators indicated that migrant female sex workers are at most risk of contracting HIV\Aids because they have little knowledge about HIV. The survey which was conducted two months ago showed that the HIV prevalence rate among female sex workers stands at 24-27 percent but no research has ever focused on migrant female sex workers.

During the research, 623 migrant female sex workers were interviewed. The sex workers were from Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, DRC Congo Sudan and Rwanda. The study revealed that 23 per cent of them had contracted HIV whereas 2 percent syphilis. "Fifty-four per cent used a condom every time they had sex with client in the last seven days. Seventy-two percent were not aware a healthy person could have HIV. Somalis had lowest knowledge level about HIV aids," the research said.

The International Organization for Immigration (IOM) and the National Organization of Peer Educators (NOPE) said that they have already established a drop in centre in Eastleigh to sensitize the migrant female sex workers about HIV/Aids. "30 migrant female sex workers peer educators have been trained and also 78 migrant female sex workers trained on rights awareness and 135 others referred for different health services," they said.

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