Female sex workers are 13.5 times more likely to be living with HIV than other women, according to a report by the National Aids Control Council.
Another report by the National Aids & STI Control Programme (Nascop) says that female sex workers and their clients account for 14.1 per cent of all new HIV infections nationally. Nyanza leads in the new infection rates with 23.1 per cent while the Coast contributes 18.2 per cent and Nairobi 14.7 per cent.
Nascop has developed a programme where commercial sex workers undergo testing every three months. Those found to be infected with HIV undergo regular counselling and have been put on anti-retroviral drugs.
Mr George Githuka of Nascop told the Nation that in the case of Eastleigh (see main story), high trading and easy availability of money are the driving forces behind commercial sex work.
“They are there because there is a lot of traders, meaning there is a lot money in circulation,” he said. “We always do a lot of sensitisation and educate them on how to use condoms properly”.
According to the latest HIV Modes of Transmission analysis by World Bank and National Aids Control Council (NACC), the largest source of new infections was heterosexual sex within marriage or with regular partners, contributing 44 per cent of new infections. It was followed by heterosexual sex with casual or multiple partners.