HIV Infection Rate In Sex Workers Stir Panic In South Africa - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Monday 14 December 2015

HIV Infection Rate In Sex Workers Stir Panic In South Africa

HIV Infection Rate In Sex Workers Stir Panic In South Africa

Antiretroviral pills

A recent report on HIV put together by the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has stirred panic in South Africa.

The research by the CDC was carried out in conjunction with the University of California, the Anova Health Institute and the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute.

According to Times Live, the experiment was carried out to capture HIV prevalence and treatment rates among sex workers by the Department of Health for six months.

The release of the study report has been delayed by the Department of Health for six months.

Over two thousand sex workers in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban were tested for HIV over a six-month period.

Statistics from the investigation shows that Durban’s sex workers have a 53% HIV infection rate; Cape Town’s almost 40%.

The study found that only 19% of sex workers who knew they were HIV-positive were on treatment in Johannesburg, compared with about 25% in Cape Town and Durban.

Great mphasises are laid on the need for more sex workers to be given antiretrovirals, based on the high HIV prevalence rate.

Experts inform that treatment makes one non infectious.

Control public health specialist Helen Savva said the data showed that it was essential to get sex workers treated with antiretroviral drugs.

“If we want to get the South African HIV epidemic under control we have to [treat] groups that have the highest rates of HIV.

“Sex workers are a marginalised population. Their lifestyle is not always conducive to taking a pill a day. They travel across borders with truck drivers. There is a lot of alcohol and drug abuse.”

South Africa director for the CDC, Nancy Knight, said the study revealed that more than 70% of sex workers in Durban and Johannesburg knew that they were HIV-positive.

Knight said there were clinics in Pretoria and Johannesburg that offered health services specifically to sex workers.

In a pilot project in Durban, treatment is taken to sex workers on the streets or in brothels.

The aim of the project is to ensure that they receive medication and testing, with no cause to feel embarrassed.

There are talks by the department regarding the possibility of giving HIV-negative sex workers access a preventive HIV pill.

The pill for prevention against the infection being talked about,  is called Truvada.

In a related development on the prevalence of HIV,a report by the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA) has shown that no fewer than 470,000 residents of Lagos state have been infected by the dreaded HIV.

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