Globe and Mail Examines HIV/AIDS Prevention, Education Efforts Aimed at Truckers, Commercial Sex Workers in Africa
Toronto's Globe and Mail on Thursday examined the "few" HIV/AIDS prevention and education programs aimed at truck drivers and commercial sex workers in Africa. According to the Globe and Mail, some research on "transportation corridors" in Africa has found that up to 80% of commercial sex workers who "work those routes" are living with HIV/AIDS. A study by the Strengthening STD/HIV Control Project in Kenya -- a joint program between the University of Manitoba and the University of Nairobi -- found that up to 10,000 new HIV cases might be occurring annually along the "trucking corridor" through Kenya and Uganda, but fewer than 10% of the commercial sex workers and no transport workers are receiving information about HIV/AIDS, the Globe and Mail reports. Initiatives such as Population Services International's Corridors of Hope program provide condoms, education materials and treatment at truck stops across Africa. However, commercial sex work is illegal in many African countries, so sex workers often are not included in national plans to fight HIV/AIDS, the Globe and Mail reports. In Kenya, the work is illegal but contributes to an estimated 40% of HIV cases in the country. In addition, U.S. policy requires that recipients of U.S. HIV/AIDS service grants pledge to oppose commercial sex work, according to the Globe and Mail. Although some people who work in the programs targeting truckers and commercial sex workers say there have been "some isolated success stories," they add that "little has changed in trucking culture despite the grim swath AIDS has cut through so many countries," according to the Globe and Mail. University of Manitoba Professor Chester Morris, who conducted the Kenya and Uganda study, said treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, peer-led education about condom use and increased distribution of female condoms are among the interventions that have proven successful with the groups (Nolen, Globe and Mail, 2/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.