When you mention Koinange streets to any Nairobian, the first thought that comes to mind is the booming business that goes on in the darkest of hours on the corridors of this street.
Even though prostitution still remains a controversial issue, the rise of human right defenders has sought to humanise this issue. Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme is such an organisation and as we Marked the World Aids day we sought to hear from the horses mouth.
Dorcas who is a mother of four is a woman who is living with HIV/AIDS and is an active sex worker. She has accepted her condition and is living positively, taking care of herself. In a candid interview on Ghetto Radio’s morning show Brekko, the single mother attributed her choice of being a sex worker to unemployment, saying that she needed to feed her kids. Her choice sparking a heated debate on whether or not she was right in still engaging in sex with multiple partners despite knowing her status.
In what seemed to be a controversial confession, Dorcas bluntly said that if there was to be a mishap and the condom burst ,she would not tell her client out of fear of victimisation and reprieve. She said that she doesn’t reveal her status to the men she sleeps with though she insists on using protection for her every encounter. This revelation opening a can of worms on just how many men out there might have contracted HIV/AIDS without knowing.
Did you know that it is unlawful for anyone who is aware of being infected with HIV /AIDS to knowingly or recklessly place another person at risk of becoming infected with HIV unless that other person knew that fact and voluntarily accepted the risk of being infected? So are these Human Right organisations misleading the commercial sex workers in their bid to empower them and encouraging them to withhold this information?
Dorcas expressed her willingness to dump this trade if she got a decent paying job but according to her, the salary needed to match or beat her current earnings that she estimated at 150,000 per month. The mother of four said that she had raised her children by sleeping with men but had managed to keep it a secrte from them all this while with only one of her children knowing about her HIV status.
While it would be easy to cast stones at the choices that Dorcas and the many like her have made, it would make much more sense if we instead allowed a sober conversation on what living positively really means and how to help those who might be wallowing in poverty and are tempted to induldge in sexual activities for money despite being infected. World Aids Day is not only about empowering those living with HIV/AIDS ,it is also an avenue to encourage and inform those who are negative on how to stay that way.