Increase in Commercial Sex Work, Sexual Violence in Kenya Following Violence Will Undermine HIV/AIDS Efforts, AP/Google.com Reports
Both the number of teenage girls participating in commercial sex work and sexual violence have increased in Kenya following the December 2007 presidential election that resulted in political violence, and experts have said the increase will undermine the country's progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the AP/Google.com reports.
A recent report by the Gender Violence Recovery Center at Nairobi Women's Hospital said there already is "great fear that the gains made to reduce the prevalence of HIV in Kenya would be lost" following the violence. Teresa Omondi, head of GVRC, added, "With time, we'll start feeling the impact of this conflict on HIV and AIDS." Kenya's National AIDS Control Council also has launched a study on the effects of sexual violence on efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.
Agnetta Mirikau, a child protection specialist with UNICEF Kenya, said the increase in teenage girls working as sex workers is more noticeable in areas that were heavily affected by the violence. The mayor has expressed concern that the increase in sex work will facilitate the spread of HIV. Sammy Rutto -- mayor of Eldoret, Kenya, which was highly affected by the violence -- has ordered police to stem the spread of sex work after reports that girls as young as age 12 were seen in bars (Kennedy/Ndangi, AP/Google.com, 7/31).