NPR Profiles Health Clinic In South Africa Working To Combat HIV Among Prostitutes

NPR’s “Shots” blog and “All Things Considered” program profile a “health clinic in the heart of Johannesburg [that] is attempting to break the HIV cycle by focusing on people at extremely high risk for infection — prostitutes.” According to the blog, “[s]ome researchers estimate that about two-thirds of sex workers in South Africa are HIV positive,” and “[p]roviding them with basic health care, including access to antiviral drugs, can save their lives while reducing the chance that they’ll spread HIV to clients.” The clinic, run by the University of the Witwatersrand and located in the city’s Hillbrow neighborhood, “an area known for drugs, poverty and prostitution,” “offer[s] the same general health care as others, but the staff also goes out to meet with women in the streets, in brothels and at truck stops,” the blog writes. “The hope is that by treating conventional [sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)], the risk of HIV spreading either from the sex workers to their clients or from clients to the sex workers is reduced,” the blog notes, adding, “The staff also can get women started on antiviral drugs, give them condoms and tries to stress the importance of safe sex” (Beaubien, 8/28).

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