For over a decade, Ace Africa has been determined to support key populations who are at particular risk of contracting HIV and AIDS. These groups, such as commercial sex workers and long distance truck drivers, are disproportionately affected by HIV due to certain high-risk behaviour. Ace Africa’s programmes aim to increase the availability of a comprehensive package of HIV prevention, care and treatment services whilst also increasing key population’s demand for these services. Additionally, Ace aims to improve the rights, knowledge and meaningful participation of these groups so that they may become part of the solution, ending the epidemic across the globe.
Across Western Kenya, many women practise commercial sex work in order to gain an income. Commercial sex workers are found in pubs, hotels, street corners, brothels and massage parlours. The role of an Ace Africa counsellor is to visit these areas and educate women and men about HIV prevention, care and treatment. Ace counsellors will also distribute condoms, give advice on safe sex, provide counselling and HIV testing.
Amina is a former sex worker and was fortunate enough to gain the support from the counsellors at Ace Africa in Kenya. She now runs her own hair and beauty salon in Bungoma town called ‘Amina Saloon and Beauty Parlour’.
Amina is a peer educator in one of the hot spots that is popular for commercial sex workers. She manages a minimum of 15 female sex workers where she has the chance to educate them on HIV and AIDs, safe sex, provides them with condoms, organises counselling sessions and makes any appropriate referrals. As well as this Amina empowers these women in the sex working industry by training them in business skills for the individuals that want to have an alternative survival enterprise. In result of this, in the last six months, three woman have stopped their previous sex work and are now successfully running their own beauty salon businesses in Kenya.
On this International Women’s Day Ace Africa celebrate Amina and all the resilient and inspiring women we continue to work alongside in Kenya and Tanzania.