HIV: Study re­veals ac­cess gaps in progs for women at high risks

Daily Trust - - HEALTH - By Ojoma Akor

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.

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