Factors influencing incidence of hiv/aids among female sex workers: The case of Imenti north sub county, Meru county, Kenya
In a world where the overwhelming majority of HIV infections are sexually transmitted, sex workers are at a heightened risk of HIV infection. According to Nascop (2010) in Kenya, 1.3 million people aged between 15-64 years are living with HIV with a national prevalence of 7.1%. Although links between sex work and HIV vulnerability have been recognized since the earliest of days, surveys indicate that sex workers have inadequate access to HIV prevention services and it is believed that their access is even more limited for appropriate care, treatment and support. To date, HIV response has devoted insufficient attention and resources to efforts to address HIV and sex work, with less than 1% of global funding for HIV prevention being spent on HIV and sex work (UNAIDS:2012). The study focused on the incidence of HIV/AIDS among female sex workers in Imenti North sub county, Meru County. The study sought to understand the factors contributing to the incidence of HIV/AIDS among female sex workers in Imenti North sub county, Meru County. The objectives included: To assess the influence of accessibility to HIV prevention services, assess the influence of structural issues, determine how condom use influences the incidence, assess how Government policy influences incidence and to determine the influence of culture on incidence of HIV/AIDS among female sex workers. Descriptive survey research design was adopted and a stratified sampling technique was used to get the sample frame of the respondents. The research instruments used were open and closed ended questionnaires and personal interviews. The findings of the study showed that 74% of the respondents had access to HIV prevention services which was free of discrimination, 81% of them had not experienced any form of arrest or harassment by police or city council officers and condom use was high with 63% of them using condoms with both regular and casual clients. The study also showed accessibility to HIV prevention services, structural issues and condom use influence the incidence of HIV/AIDS among female sex workers. This study recommends that county government should develop policy frameworks that do not criminalize sex work, that the Ministry of Health should increase the education of sex workers on condom use and STI management, massive provision and distribution of condoms by the ministry of health, and Nascop and sensitization of all health workers and police officers on the rights of sex workers.