Sex workers in Kenya included as MARPS in NSP

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Sources of new HIV infections in Kenya (Kenya Mode of transmission study - KMOT, 2008)


In January 2010 Kenya launched its third National AIDS Strategic Plan (2009/2010 - 2012/2013) aimed to reduce new infections by at least 50% over the following 4 years and focus more on most at-risk populations (MARPs).

"We cannot achieve our target unless we close new taps of HIV infections - this involves putting most at-risk populations at the centre of our HIV programmes and prevention strategies," said Alloys Orago, Director of the National AIDS Control Council.

In Kenya, sex workers, injecting drug users, and men who have sex with men (MSM) are considered primary MARPs.

A 2008 Modes of Transmission study in Kenya revealed that sex workers and their clients accounted for just over 14% of new HIV infections, while MSM and prison populations together account for about 15% of new infections. The study also found that injecting drug users were responsible for 3.8% of new infections.

Speaking at the launch, UNAIDS Executive Director Michél Sidibé stressed the challenge of increasing HIV programming among MARPS, while some of the activities that put them at a higher risk of contracting and transmitting HIV are criminalised. Sex work, homosexual acts and the use of illicit drugs are outlawed in Kenya, and are punishable by long terms in prison. "Criminalisation puts most at-risk populations like commercial sex workers, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men in the shadows," Sidibé told IRIN News.

Kenya's HIV national prevalence stands at 7.1%; an estimated 166,000 Kenyans become infected with HIV every year, 34,000 of whom are infants.


KENYA: New strategy targets most at-risk populations:
13 January 2010
By IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

Most At Risk Populations (MARPs):
By the Kenya National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NASCOP)

Kenya National AIDS Strategic Plan 2009/10 – 2012/13:
November 2009
By the Kenya National AIDS Control Council

Additional/related resources:

Kenya HIV Prevention Response and Modes of Transmission Analysis (Final Report):
March 2009
By Kenya National AIDS Control Council