Sex Workers and Their Clients in Guyana Work Together to Challenge HIV

 

Secretary of the One Love Organisation – a non-governmental organisation which addresses the HIV needs of sex workers – Kay Forde is a sex worker in Guyana who is also an AIDS activist who is committed to making a difference in the Kwakwani region, Guyana.

According to an article carried on www.unaids.org Forde’s commitment involves “not only advocating for the rights of sex workers to live free of stigma and discrimination, with access to good information about HIV (and) it also extends to working with their clients.”

The report suggests that many of the clients are loggers who earn their living in the wood logging industry.

“There are some 13,000 loggers in Guyana and they are a significant segment of the migrant worker population. With forests generally found in isolated areas, there can be a lack of regular access to both condoms and correct knowledge of how HIV is transmitted, which increases vulnerability to infection. Sex workers themselves are disproportionally affected by the virus with an HIV prevalence of around 16%, compared to an adult HIV prevalence in Guyana of 1.2%.”

As a means of promoting protection and curbing the spread of HIV, One Love forged a partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Guyana Government, the PEPFAR HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme and the US Department of Labour in 2009.

“One of the principle aims is to encourage HIV prevention among loggers with a core package of services. This includes condom promotion, voluntary HIV counselling and testing, and referrals for sexually transmitted infections, which together aim to increase risk recognition and promote safer sex. The strategy to use the One Love Organization is working well, since awareness is now being created among both the organization’s members and the loggers on the importance of adopting safer sexual practices.”

(Contents of this article were lifted from www.unaids.org )


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