Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS, with Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda accounting for 48% of new infections. Women in sex work are at increased risk, and poverty is the most common reason for sex work.
Nearly 1,000 women engaged in sex work in Uganda are being provided with savings accounts, financial literacy skills and vocational training in a study currently underway by researchers from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.
Investigators hope that improving the women’s financial situations and job prospects will result in less sexual risk-taking and limit the spread of HIV.
“When women engaged in sex work have access to alternative forms of employment and start earning formal income outside of sex work, they may become motivated to explore alternative sources of income and ultimately reduce their exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections,” said Fred Ssewamala, the William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor at the Brown School and a principal investigator for the study.
We hope the study findings will advance our understanding of how best to implement gender-specific HIV prevention globally.Fred Ssewamala