HIV: Study reveals access gaps in progs for women at high risks
A recent study conducted by the University of Manitoba in collaboration with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has revealed that some women along the chain of commercial sex work have not been reached with programmes and information on HIV prevention.
The experts who carried out the study, done with support from the World Bank also advised that Nigeria needs to extend programmes to the missed and unreached women for the country to effectively reduce HIV spread.
Speaking during the final report dissemination of the sexual ethnographic study titled ‘Understanding the high risk urban sexual Networks in Nigeria’ Country Coordinator, Centre for Global Public Health, University of Manitoba, Dr Kalada Green said, “The results showed that there was an access gap to programmes, and that programmes do not reach most of the entrants into full blown sex work, from casual sex to transactional to full blown sex workers.”
He said the study looked at sexual networks, and the transition of how women move from casual sexual relationships to transactional sex, where they exchange sex for gifts, and moving on to full blown sex workers , or formal sex work.
Green who is also the Director West Africa Centre for Public Health and Development, Nigeria said the study was inspired by the lack of appropriate consideration for research results in the country’s programme planning, as well as the need for efficiency and effectiveness in improving HIV prevention programs.
Director Strategic Knowledge Management, NACA, Dr Kayode Ogungbemi, said that the common knowledge was that people go to mega stores to shop but that the study however showed that young men and women go to big stores to meet sexual partners and network sexually.
He said there was need for programmes to reach these category of women with programmes such as use of condom, going for HIV test to know if they infected and how to start treatment on time, because many of them were unaware of this and continue to spread the disease.
Ogungbemi called for establishment of learning sites and profiling of venue of risky sexual behavior partners in rural areas.
National Coordinator of the Nigeria SexWorkers Association, Amaka Anemo called on the Federal Government to decriminalize sex work saying it would help reduce HIV rate.
She said it was important to reach commercial sex workers and those transiting to commercial sex because a single sex worker could infect more than a 100 people.