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Provincial Newspapers The Times

Engagement key in fighting new HIV infections.


The National Aids Council is engaging Key Population(KP) group of people and work with them to help
promote better health lifestyles within comunities and work towards eliminating Aids as a public health
threat by 2030.

The Key Population are defined groups who due to specific higher –risk behaviors are at increased risk of
HIV irrespective of the epidemic type or local context.

Mongwabesuthu Ngwenya the Umguza District Aids Coordinator (DAC) said the National Aids Council
has engaged the Key Population such as the female sex workers in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“Female sex workers are over 30 times at risk of getting HIV because of their work, that is why we are
now focusing on specific population. Female sex workers are led by peer educators; we need to protect
them. We also get to teach them on the use of condoms in males and females,” he said.

The Umguza DAC further revealed that they also carryout outreach programmes and ensure that the
message reaches out to the key population. The district is leading in new HIV infections and to
compound he problem, has limited health services hence the introduction of outreach programmes.

Thembeni Sithole Key Population Peer Educator (KPPE) said the sex workers have benefitted from the
engagements with NAC.

“Sex workers were unable to get services from local health facilities because of stigma, but with the
knowledge they have from NAC they have the confidence to get any health needs. We train them in self-
help programmes to economically empower themselves. We teach them about their rights because they
are given a lot of names in society. At times they are used and insulted or not paid (by clients),” said

The sex workers are taught about behaviour change and safe sex practices.

Meanwhile, Nomsa Dube a sex worker said she has benefitted from the engagement and the awareness
campaigns from NAC.

“I really appreciate NAC; they have taught us how to access the PEP and PREP and have actually
encouraged us to do so. We also work with the police in cases of Gender Based Violence. The good thing
is that although the community has not fully accepted our line of work, the health sector has accepted
us “she said.

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