Stigmatising Health Services Harm Sex Workers in Zimbabwe

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Regional Correspondent Africa

Stigmatisation and discrimination of sex workers at hospitals has been identified as one of the key barriers in accessing health services, a study has shown.

The study, conducted by the Center for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Research (CeSHHAR) indicates that, in some hospitals and clinics in Zimbabwe, sex workers face hostile reception from health care providers and this hampers their access to HIV related treatment and care.

Started in 2009, the study named ‘Sisters With A Voice’ was launched during a forum for journalists by CeSHHAR.

The report indicated instances where health care providers often accused sex workers of spreading HIV. It also noted that there are still negative perceptions about sex workers in Zimbabwean society.

Furthermore, the study showed that police are guilty of negligence when it comes to investigating injustices against sex workers. Some officers do not take cases brought forward by sex workers seriously.

The report was released at a time when the National AIDS Council (NAC) and health programmers are faulting the Zimbabwe government for not involving sex workers in HIV programming.