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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

 


Swazis have sex workers covered
By James Hall and Mbabane
Mail & Guardian
***************

Why does DENIAL seem to be the prevention method of choice for governments
until prevalence hits the devastating level of 30%?
MODERATOR

*********
Swazis have sex workers covered
By James Hall and Mbabane
Mail & Guardian
16 July 2003
************

As awareness of the AIDS crisis breaks in Swaziland like a blinding dawn,
measures that would have been unthinkable a year ago are now being
initiated.

This week the Mbabane city council - in a bid to stem the spread of HIV
among sex workers and their clients - announced plans to leave boxes of
condoms in parks and other areas where sex workers gather. The plan was,
however, initially condemned by the capital city's sex workers, who said
the "bait" of condoms would lure the police to where they did business.
But it appears they were wrong.

 




Prostitution is illegal in Swaziland, but the police were not interfering
with a new AIDS initiative aimed at long-distance truck and taxi drivers.
Such itinerate workers have not been reached by health NGOs who bring Aids
information to companies with workers in one place.

The Family Life Association of Swaziland (Flas) is training commercial sex
workers as "peer educators", and Population Services International (PSI)
is providing condoms and literature to distribute to truckers and other
sex workers. The programme is being financed by USAid.

Twenty "peer educators" are being posted at the Oshoek border gate to
Mpumalanga, South Africa, which is used by most truckers to and from
Gauteng; 10 will be placed at the Lavumisa border gate to KwaZulu-Natal;
and 10 at the Lomahasha border with Mozambique. "Fifteen sex workers will
be recruited in Manzini and Mbabane, because when truckers finish their
jobs, they go to those towns," said Jerome Shongwe, Flas's programme
coordinator.

 




The initiative kicked off with a parade of trucks and buses through
downtown Mbabane. Sex workers adorned some of the vehicles. The police
looked the other way. As denial of AIDS disintegrates, a new reality is
taking hold - to tolerate whatever helps fight the epidemic.


Source: Sexual and Reproductive Health Yahoo Group, July 23, 2003