MUSANZE - former commercial sex workers, have urged those still engaged in the risky trade to seek alternative livelihoods. While outlining some of the appalling conditions they had to endure as commercial sex workers before abandoning the trade altogether, the women drawn from four associations of former sex workers reiterated that yearning to lead a life free of dangers of contracting HIV/Aids drove them into seeking other forms of livelihoods.
This was revealed during a condom use campaign aimed at sensitizing the rural population to fight HIV/Aids. The campaign was organized by Association Ihorere-Munyarwanda-AIMIR, in partnership with National Aids Control Commission (CNLS).
‘I have had five pregnancies, including abortions, contracted sexually transmitted diseases and endured suffering at the hands of men, night robbers and not gained a any form of progress while posing as a commercial sex worker,’’ Claudine Mashengesho, testified as a member of the association of former commercial sex workers.
Two parliamentarians, Liberatha Kayitesi and Theobald Mporanyi, working under the Rwanda Parliamentarians network for Population and Development-RPRPD urged those still engaged in prostitution to stop with immediate effect by seeking alternative activities. ‘We can not attain development with such wasteful activities and socially unacceptable work ethics. It is simply unacceptable to rely on sex for a living,” Hon Kayitesi added.
JMV Mwananawe, from Association Ihorere-Munyarwanda, said that the aim of the campaign is to make the community aware of HIV/AIDS and to have their involvement in the use of condoms.
‘This kind of sensitization is needed in order to cut down on prevalence rates,” he added. The three month long campaign against HIV/Aids through use of condoms is set to end in February but partners in the fight against HIV will still continue to sensitize the public on this intervention as it has been identified as one of the effective prevention measures. During the campaign, female condoms were distributed free of charge.