Zambia has about 18,000 sex workers – AIDS Council

 Zambia has about 18,000 sex workers – AIDS Council

By Salim Dawood
Zambia has about 18,000 sex workers, the National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council has revealed.

The council says Zambia also has one of the highest HIV prevalence rate amongst sex workers in the SADC region.

Council director of policy and planning John Mwale made the revelation during an HIV Prevention Coalition breakfast meeting at the
Radisson Blu Hotel yesterday.

The National HIV Prevention Coalition is a mechanism aimed at increasing stakeholder’s responsibility towards the achievement of the HIV Prevention fast track targets in Zambia by 2020.

In his presentation to the meeting, Mr Mwale said Zambia needed to focus more interventions on key populations such as sex workers.

“For example if you look at the HIV prevalence rate amongst sex workers, its one of the highest in the SADC region. The HIV prevalence rate for sex workers in Zambia is 56.8 per cent compared to 11.6 percent in the general population.
This calls for intervention that focus on key population. In terms of estimation of sex Zambia has about 18,000 sex workers,” he said.

He said out of the 56.8 per cent of sex workers living with HIV, only 18 per cent were on treatment.

He said the remaining infected sex workers avoided treatment because of stigma and discrimination.

Mr Mwale put the usage of condoms amongst sex workers 79 per cent.

In the same presentation Mr Mwale said 62 million condoms were distributed countrywide in 2018.

“The problem we seem to have is the issue of female condoms. The numbers still remain very low. Out of the 62 million condoms distributed only one 1.6 million are female condoms,” he said.

Mr Mwale said it was expected that every man or woman was supposed to use 14 condoms per year.

He also said according to the latest data, circumcision had averted 26,000 new HIV infections.
He said 484,000 men had been circumcised in 2018.

He said an estimated 1.2 million Zambians were living with HIV and only 927, 000 had been enrolled on ART/Kalemba.

The Independent Observer

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