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Jul 20, 2016

HIV & TRUCKERS * Africa - Truck drivers and sex workers

* Mozambique - Fighting HIV in two high-risk groups: Sex Workers and Truck Drivers


--- She's a sex worker. She's clutching a glass of beer. She's drunk and can barely stand up... She triumphantly declares she's going to sleep with 20 men tonight... The woman is one of the many sex workers in the city of Beira in Mozambique — and one of the targets of a new pilot program set up by Doctors Without Borders to prevent the spread of HIV. The initiative focuses on sex workers and another group at high risk of infection — truck drivers... This part of southern Africa has been hit harder by HIV than any place in the world. In Mozambique roughly 1 in 10 adults are infected with the virus. And according to UNAIDS sex workers are 10 times more likely than the general population to be HIV positive... The city is a relatively small gritty port on the Indian Ocean. Trucks constantly move in and out of docks hauling cargo in to parts of Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo... Truckers spend weeks, even months, on the road ferrying loads of sugar, gasoline, auto parts and other loads of cargo between Beira and Central Africa. But it's not just cargo that moves along these transportation routes, it's also HIV... Not far from the Beira docks, there's a trash-strewn alleyway that at night becomes a hub of prostitution. Women and girls in tight skirts lean against a cement wall waiting for clients. Some of the sex workers are from Mozambique. But so many of them are from neighboring Zimbabwe... The Doctors Without Borders program offers weekly HIV testing and counseling for truckers all along the highway up to the border with Malawi. They also distribute free condoms at truck stops – and to sex workers... But just like the local trucker drivers, sex workers can easily move along the highway that extends from Mozambique into Central Africa...
 (Photo by Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images - The alleyway known as the Beira "corridor" is part of the city's informal prostitution zone, where sex workers wait to meet clients) Beira, Mozambique - NPR.org, by Jason Beaubien - July 18, 20164

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