Economic Support Reduces New HIV Infections Among MARPs – Report

Published: August 28, 2012

Economic support and access to medical interventions reduce cases of new infections among people most at risk of contracting HIV and Aids, a new report shows.

A New Partners Initiative, Scaling up HIV Aids Prevention Project (NPI-SHAP)/ National Organisation of Peer Educators (NOPE) project found that peer educators should be selected from such groups to increase enrolment of their peers.

The programme focussed on commercial sex workers, men who have sex with other men and long distance truck drivers in Nairobi, Central and Nyanza.

It aims to reduce the number of new infections among 29,163 Most-At-Risk Populations (MARPs) by assisting them secure alternative sources of income, providing health education and screening for diseases.

Since the project kicked off in 2009, 91 per cent of MARPs enrolled at their drop-in service centres tested for HIV.

The report launched in Nairobi’s Panafric Hotel Tuesday showed the number had reached 20,735 people with 93.9 per cent of them testing for HIV.

Commercial sex workers and men who have sex with other men (MSM) were more responsive to the project compared to truckers.

NPI-SHAP’s Job Akuno explained that the drivers were the most challenging group to work with because they spend most of their time on the highways.

“It was not easy to get repeat services for them but we selected Migori and Isebania as they key spots to interact with them,” he said.

Respondents were expected to make repeat visits to the centres they were registered to and it was reported that use of condoms improved by 13 per cent and 17 per cent for sex workers and MSMs respectively while that of truckers went up by only 2 per cent.

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