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29 January 2018, 15:30
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Sex workers most affected by HIV in Africa

Sex workers most affected by HIV in Africa - picture 1

Women, youth, sex workers, prisoners and people who inject drugs are among the most affected by the HIV epidemic, a new report revealed Saturday, Xinhua reports.

As the first of its kind conducted by an African Union (AU) organ, the report was published this weekend by AU's African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHRP). It gives a comprehensive analysis of the legal and human rights issues pertinent to the HIV in the African continent.

According to the report, in Sub-Saharan Africa, HIV prevalence among female sex workers is roughly 26 percent.

"Sex workers in Africa face exceptionally high levels of stigma, discrimination, violence, extortion, sexual abuse and rape from clients, intimate partners and law enforcement officials," the report read.

It also indicated that the fact that a majority of African countries criminalize commercial sex work through law enforcement activities such as arbitrary detention and arrest based on condom possession "deters sex workers from accessing condoms and place them at risk of HIV infection."

The report, which mainly outlined challenges and human rights violations with regards to the HIV, also highlighted good and promising practices at the regional and national levels that address challenges related with the HIV epidemics.

It said some African countries have taken legislative and policy steps to combat HIV-related discrimination, and some 35 African States have also adopted laws to protect people living with the HIV from discrimination, many of which are HIV-specific.

"In spite of their shortcomings, these laws prohibit discrimination in areas such as employment, housing, education and health care," the report read.

The ACHPR report provides the first comprehensive analysis of the progress and challenges relating to human rights in response to the HIV in Africa and calls for renewed action by member states, civil society and others to advance human rights as central to ending AIDS.

Author: Marina Shegay

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