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Why Mombasa sex workers poured out to the streets

Mombasa sex workers poured out to the streets on Tuesday to show support to the new drug that helps them not get infected AIDS by clients.

The approximately 500 sex workers, including Lesbians, Gays, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI), held a street demonstration in the coastal city to create awareness on the use of Pre-Exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to curb HIV infections.

Sex workers and LGBTI’s contribute are the highest drivers of new HIV infections in the county, according to data from National Aids Control Council.

Previous studies among sex workers have indicated that clients who do not use condoms pay better.

PrEP is a way for people who do not have HIV – but who are at a substantial risk of getting it – to avoid getting infected by taking a pill every day.

Currently, some 600 sex workers in the county including the LGBTI community receive the drug from International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH).

“I am sex worker who is at risk of being infected with HIV from my clients because I engage in sexual intercourse with multiple partners. We are glad that ICRH is giving us this drug for free. We use this alongside condom to curb other sexual transmitted disease,” one of the LGBTI member said.

A clinician from ICRH, Esther Menza said the organization is targeting 2,000 sex workers to curb new HIV infections.

ICRH has currently enrolled some 2,200 people who use the drug.

“We deal with key population and we work with many partners. The current programme is PrEP jilinde which basically means prevention and protection against HIV. We are sensitizing key population on PrEP,” Programme officer Gladys Waruguru said the organization.