HEALTH-E: One pill a day to keep HIV at bay for thousands of sex workers

11 March 2016 Three-year plan for sex workers to be unveiled today The kind of high-level interest shown by Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Deputy President and SANAC Chair Cyril Ramaphosa in curbing HIV among sex workers may be a rarity, as globally politicians tend to distance themselves from the stigmatised group. “It’s rare for a country to have such high-level leadership dealing with HIV among sex workers,” Abdullah said. “It’s a sign that government is taking this very seriously and working with non-governmental organisations and the community to make sure that the right thing is done and done properly.” In South Africa, the roll out of both to sex workers is part of a new three-year national plan to be unveiled today to address HIV prevalence rates that may be as high as 70 percent among sex workers, according to a new study to be released today. Conducted in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, the study also found low levels of HIV treatment and adherence among sex workers. Abdullah is hoping quick access to treatment after testing will help change that. “If you manage to get a sex worker into a clinic, the last thing you want to do is postpone treatment,” said Abdullah, noting that the plan also provides for extensive outreach conducted by sex workers for sex workers covering everything from HIV and contraception to tuberculosis. Cape Town-based sex worker rights organisation Sweat was one of several bodies representing sex workers that helped draft the new plan. The organisation has welcomed the plan’s adoption of international best practices, Sweat Human Rights and Lobbying Officer Nosipho Vidima told Health-e News. Read full article:   … Continue reading →

NSWP: Murder of Nokuphila Moudy Kumalo in Court with Sisonke Support

10 February 2016 NSWP member SWEAT and Sisonke in Cape Town, South Africa are monitoring the court case of Zwelethu Mthethwa. He is accused of murdering Nokuphila Moudy Kumalo, a 23-year-old sex worker who was found dead on Ravenscraig Road, Woodstock, Cape Town on the 14 of April, 2013. According to News 24, the accused was captured on CCTV getting out of his car, approaching a woman – possibly a sex worker – and hitting her repeatedly. When she fell to the ground he started to kick her and she died from the assault. The CCTV coverage was only recently admitted as evidence in the case. Sex work is illegal in South Africa. The laws regulating sex work are Apartheid laws from 1957, which criminalise sex workers and third parties. In 2007, the law was amended to include the criminalisation of clients. “Under criminalisation, violence against sex workers can be perpetrated with impunity,” said Ishtar Lakhani, from SWEAT. “The South African context is not unique. Wherever sex work is criminalised, violence can occur with impunity. When states do not decriminalise sex work, they are complicit in the violence against sex workers,” Lakhani continued. In Cape Town alone, 39 sex workers have died in the past year because they were murdered or had inadequate access to medical services. “These are just the deaths we are aware of,” said Lakhani, “due to criminalisation, these deaths are underreported.” Read full article: … Continue reading →