THE UPTAKE OF ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIC ACTIVmES AMONG FEMALE'SEX WORKERS AND IMPACT ON SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR: INSIGHTS FROM, AN ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT IN NAIROBI, KENYA.
Ngugi, Elizabeth N
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Introduction: The growing rate of HIV infection particularly among women in 'subSaharan African region suggests the need tor a. broader framework for prevention and care efforts. In particular, the socio-economic context that draws women into commercial sex is a key factor to be addressed. In this context, the Strengthening STDjAIDS Control in Kenya Project, in collaboration with Improve Your Business-Kenya, a small enterprise development organisation, initiated an operational research in February 1999, to assess the eftecnvecess of alternative economic activities support for women engaged in commerdal sex work in the slums of Nairobi as an HIV prevention strategy. The rnajoritv of the women had been in commercial sex work for more than 3 years and reported having an average of 4 different commercial sex clients per day with whom close to a. quarter used condoms only sometimes. Corroborative data from previous studies have shown female sex workers in Nairobi to be 50-80% HIV infected. In view of their risk of HIV infection, the women expressed the need for support for alternative income sources to enable them exercise more control over their sexual behaviour or exit sex work altogether. The financial support for the study was provided by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).