Added: Vinh Nunn - Date: 31.12.2021 21:59 - Views: 23297 - Clicks: 6614
Prostitutes are persuading these men to take free HIV tests in mobile clinics, set up inside or nearby brothels and run by teams of doctors, nurses, social workers and lab technicians, in a drive to tackle the prevalence of the virus which causes AIDS.
While an average of one in 25 people across the country are living with HIV, more then a third of sex workers are infected, meaning they hold the key to halting the spread of the virus which kills at least 30, Cameroonians a year, experts say. People who buy sex have in the past proved hard to reach with anti-HIV efforts due to the stigma surrounding the virus and the fact that prostitution is illegal in Cameroon.
Yet thousands of men in Yaounde have been convinced by sex workers to get tested since last October in a project run by CARE International and local partners such as Horizons Femmes. On a Friday evening in a narrow alleyway in Emombo, a queue is forming outside the brothel where Rose works - a dilapidated wooden shack where rooms contain nothing but a rolled-up rotting mattress and a rusty nail banged into the doorframe for a lock.
These men are not waiting for sex, but to be tested for HIV. The test takes about 15 minutes, during which time the medical team explains the procedure and the health risks associated with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Those who test positive for HIV are given an appointment in a health centre, through which parents are prescribed a course of drugs, and are offered counselling and follow-up sessions.
Some of her fellow health workers said they felt vulnerable being tucked away in a flimsy shack, with little to no security, and having to deal with rowdy, drunken, clients. One of the medical team said her handbag was stolen while at work, and another had her identity card taken from the brothel.
More than 5, clients of sex workers have been tested for HIV so far this year as part of the project, which is funded by the U. Civil society groups in Cameroon are also going beyond sex workers and their clients, and are working to improve HIV prevention efforts and healthcare for men who have sex with men MSM and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender LGBT people.
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