Nairobi still a hotbed of prostitution, anal sex on the rise

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by enews reporter

Nairobi county hosts at least a quarter of female sex workers in Kenya in new estimates released by the ministry of Health.

There are over 133,675 female sex workers in Kenya, with 29,494 of them based in Nairobi. North Eastern has 2,030 female sex workers, the lowest number in the country.

At least 39 per cent of sex workers in Nairobi do not believe abstaining from sex would protect them from HIV, according to the estimates.

And Anal sex, traditionally a taboo topic in the city, seems to be on the rise with 23 per cent of sex workers saying they don’t think they could get HIV from unprotected anal sex.

At least three in ten female sex workers across the 47 counties is infected with HIV, according to the National Aids Control Council.

Another 23 per cent don’t believe there is management for HIV.

It is because of this that the ministry of Health and other partners have been scratching their heads on how to involve this population in putting HIV infections in check.

Distribution of condoms and availing treatment facilities are among efforts being made to halt the spread of the disease.

And lately, reformed sex workers are being used to reach their peers with information on HIV and this is a a priority intervention area, according to Kenya Aids Strategic Framework 2014/15 to 2018/19.

In Kilifi for instance, 40 girls are trained annually, after which each is expected to reach 10 prostitutes.

This is particularly vital because by 2010, there were over 5,500 sex workers in Mtwapa, 2, 000 in Kilifi and about 250 in Kikambala.

Mr Dan Okoro, a HIV/AIDS analyst at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), says the number of twilight girls is increasing almost at the same rate with HIV.

“Nearly 30 per cent of new infections are among female sex workers and their reproductive health needs are unmet because their work is stigmatized. This is a hidden population that many of us ‘love to hate’ but can greatly determine our fate.”

This is worsened by the fact that this population is mobile and defaults on treatment putting their lives and those of their clients at risk, he says.

One of the sex workers says she works alongside girls as young as 14 and they don’t know how to protect themselves from HIV.