Up to 73 percent of men who go for $ex workers are not using cond0ms because of trust and emotional connection, a risky behaviour responsible for the 40 percent HIV prevalence among them.
This information is contained in a new report from the Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) which the Monitor got yesterday.
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The prevalence of HIV among these men is six times higher than the average national prevalence of the disease which is at 6 percent.
The study was done in Kampala among 162 men (83 percent married), who frequently engaged in $exu@l intercourse with female $ex workers.
Up to 1,100 female $ex workers (FSW), who participated in the study, are the ones who connected researchers to their frequent clients who in turn revealed these details. HIV prevalence among $ex workers was at 37 percent, almost similar to that among men.
Dr Gertrude Namale, the lead researcher, told Daily Monitor yesterday that emotional connection with the FSWs was associated with their financial status and their beauty.
“Some of the men regarded the $ex workers as their wives because they were regular partners. Some of them wanted to have children with the $ex workers. Alcohol use also influenced the men to engage in $ex with the women without using cond0ms,” Dr Namale said.
She added: “Peer pressure also contributed to the non-use of cond0ms –moving with men who sleep with $ex workers without using cond0ms. Young and beautiful $ex workers had many male clients who were not using cond0ms.”
Those enrolled in the study were frequent clients whose relationships had lasted around six months, so it was some sort of a regular relationship although the men knew these were $ex-workers.
“Some of the men preferred $ex workers because they are financially stable. Going for $ex workers is not good because they increase one’s risk of contracting HIV. People should know that preventing HIV is important and they should avoid the risky behaviours and embrace the use of cond0ms,” Dr Namale warned.
The government statistics also indicate that among the general population, there is a low-risk perception on casual $ex and cond0m use.
This was higher (58.6 percent) among the young people as compared to the adults (36.7 percent). Cond0m use at last high-risk $ex was at 50.7 percent -38 percent among women and 62 percent among men.
According to statistics from the Uganda Aids Commission, a total of 38,000 new HIV infections and 22,000 Aids-related deaths are recorded in the country annually.
The disease affects the productivity of individuals, well-being in families and eventually leads to death, which leaves orphans.
Dr Clemensia Nakabiito, a researcher at Makerere University – Johns Hopkins University Research Collaboration (MUJHU), said there are oral pills that people who are at risk of contracting HIV can take daily for prevention. But this is more effective when combined with the use of cond0ms.
Dr Nakabiito said there is also long-acting injectable drug that has proven effective in HIV prevention for those at risk of contracting the virus from their $ex ual partners.
“The Cabotegravir is given as an injection once every eight weeks and yet for the pills, one should take every day,” she said.
The drug is still restricted to research settings because the government has not yet approved it for mass use.
Dr Namale advised people to test for HIV and if positive, enrol on anti-retroviral therapy as soon as possible to reduce the risk of disease progression and prevent spreading.
This article was updated 1 month ago