Commercial Sex workers in Zomba have bemoaned the tendency by some of their clients who cling to unprotected sex observing that the trend has the potential of fueling the spread of the HIV virus which they say is currently on the increase.
The development become one of the sticking revelations that took centre stage during the Moonlight Testing Campaign undertaken by Malawi Aids Counseling and Resource Organisation (MACRO) together with Girls Love Network Organization (GLNO) funded by the Pakachere Institute that took place at Jokala Lodge in Traditional Authority Kuntumanje, Zomba
GLNO’s publicist Ida Nyalugwe, a commercial sex worker herself blamed the situation on cultural values and religious believes that are undermining the significance of condoms use.
She said such believes facilitate men to turn down protection whilst putting their lives at risk of contracting HIV.
“As a sex worker, I meet a lot of men who resist using a condom. When asked why, they cite culture as their reason,” she said adding that others depend on religious believes as a defense.
However, another sex worker Agnes Msonda from 3 miles township differed from Nyalugwe’s sentiment, saying that the major cause behind men’s attitudes is selfishness which is mostly in disregard of the sex workers heath.
“Many clients believe that using a condom is the same as eating a sweet wrapped in a paper, a thing that most men believe dilutes sex value. They do not even care of being infected by the virus or passing it on to others.
“The challenge in most cases comes when such clients offer an attractive price tag for unprotected sex which in most cases is irresistible as we are there to make money,” said Msonda who observed that most of their clients are married people.
A man who Malawi News Agency (Mana) interviewed, but sought anonymous for fear of reprisal confessed indulging in unprotected sex noting that using a condom does not provide value for money.
“We pay to have maximum sexual pleasure and sometimes we find very beautiful sex workers that we find irresistible,” he said.
Macro District Supervisor, Lincy Misoya, noted that the main challenge is that the sex workers do not have enough power to bargain for condom use due to the nature of their profession.
“The only complaint that we get from sex workers is that of men force them to have unprotected sex and the situation is same in the whole district meaning that, the male clients are contributing heavily towards spreading of HIV in the district,” concluded Misoya.
She said Macro and GLNO organises HIV testing and counseling campaigns with funding from Pakachere, where the sex workers are sensitized on the usage of Care Female Condoms to protect themselves from the ‘self-centered’ men.
The Pakachere Outreach Communications Officer, Isaac Chimutu, said they work hand in hand with Macro in an effort to meet the Millennium Development Goal number 6 and 7 that aims at combating HIV and AIDs by 2015.--ManaFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :