NAC says female sex workers crucial in HIV/AIDS fight

Mchinji, National AIDS Commission (NAC) says female sex workers are important players in the efforts against HIV/AIDS in the country.

NAC District Coordination Officer for the centre, Eric Dakamau, made the remarks in Mchinji on Tuesday during a stakeholders meeting.

He said most female sex workers do not know their HIV status and reluctant to seek HIV/AIDS services due to fear of being discriminated, which is putting their clients at more risk.

Dakamau then called for organisations and all stakeholders dealing in HIV/AIDS to assist female sex workers acquire services to help in the prevention of the virus.

He said Malawi adopted the 90:90:90 approach by UNAIDS aimed at ensuring that by 2030, 90 per cent of people living with HIV are identified, 90 per cent of identified people living with HIV are initiated and retained on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and that 90 per cent viral suppression for ART patients is achieved.

NAC is working with many organisations such as Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) to train the female sex workers and other peer educators on HIV/AIDS prevention information.

Coordinator for Global Fund Project, Tamala Mhango, said the organisation is implementing a project aimed at increasing demand and utilisation of HIV prevention care and support services among sex workers in Mchinji.

We expect to reach 2000 female sex workers with condoms by December, 2017 and test 2000 for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cervical cancer by 2017, she said.

According to Mhango, the project will also train peer educators among the sex workers to help reach peers with HIV prevention information and services.

During the meeting, the female sex workers elected a committee to coordinate events at district level.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA