Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, people of all the occupations and professions from across the world are affected. The pandemic has now become a global crisis and threatens in various ways. But specifically, the people of Africa are in the flames who work on the streets to earn their living. Many sex workers from Africa have reported that lockdown due to COIVID-19 has kept almost all of their customers away. So, they have less or even no money to buy the necessary food for their families.
For example, 25 years old Mignonne says that when she doesn’t have food to eat, her HIV antiviral drugs cause weakness, pain, and even nausea. She added that, at times, she even passes out. Mignonne added in her interview that if I don’t take the drugs, I can quickly die.
The same is the case with all the other places in Africa. Unfortunately, Africa has the highest HIV rate as compared to the rest of the world. According to LSHTM research (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), many African countries have excluded sex workers from there social protection programs due to the global pandemic crisis. It makes sex workers as the most marginalized and compromised group.
Even Rwanda is in Danger
Only Rwanda still stands out even in these conditions. The progress in controlling HIV in Rwanda is very praisable. Because it offers antiretroviral therapy to everyone totally free. The records show that the HIV prevalence in Rwanda has been kept at three percent for over a decade. As a result, new cases of HIV infected people are dropping.
But due to the current situation, the health experts have shown their concerns that this progress can drop drastically. Moreover, UNAID has also announced, there is a strong possibility of an HIV drug shortage for the next couple of months.
A Kenyan coordinator, “Grace Kamau,” said in the webinar regarding sex workers that they are engaging in unsafe sex practices. Now we are not able to access and get the prevention tools and medication that we used to.
The National Association (Supports HIV infected people) coordinator Deborah Mukasekuru said that it is one of the most difficult times. She added the national association is trying to mobilize as much food as it can for the sex workers. But there are too many of them, and it is not possible to reach them all. At this crucial time, the government is not to be blamed because COVID-19 caught everyone unaware.
It is one of the most crucial and challenging times for all sex workers in the world. But Africa, due to its poverty, is at the red line. Critics say that if they do not die of the coronavirus, the hunger will kill them.