Aids awareness high among sex workers

Sensitisation programme by MYRADA helps improve their knowledge about safety

Aids awareness high among sex workers

Sex workers are generally seen as the vectors of HIV infections. But people in the trade beg to differ.

On the eve of World Aids Day, a group of commercial sex workers told Deccan Herald they were more concerned about their own health and of their clients.

Safety measures

“We are fully aware of the deadly HIV and Aids and take all protective measures. Incidentally, other women lack awareness about HIV and Aids and they need to be sensitised,” said Janaki (name changed).

She was one among the many sex workers who have been sensitised about health issues at Mysore Resettlement And Development Agency (MYRADA)-sponsored Soukya Samruddi Samsthe in Kolar. MYRADA has been organising several awareness programmes for such women.

“Before we took part in the awareness programmes, we did take extra money from clients who refused to use condoms. But, gone are those days. Now, we just reject clients who refuse to use condoms. We are concerned about our health as well as that of the client and his family,” said another sex worker Manjula (name changed).

Sex workers said MYRADA had played a significant role in creating health awareness among them. “We were subjected to all kinds of exploitation by antisocial elements, the police and clients before we got ourselves organised under the guidance of MYRADA. Even MYRADA activists had been beaten up by the police on some occasions,” recollected Ramakka.

Awareness works

Despite hardships, these women continue as sex workers and spread awareness about HIV/Aids.

They have attended various awareness and training camps conducted by the National Aids Control Organisation. Following such initiatives, the women have successfully warded off infections, said Sudha of Bangalore-based Centre for Advocacy.

“Working Together for Aids-Free Generation” is the slogan of this year’s World Aids Day. Sex workers in Kolar are indeed  working towards making this a reality.

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