Get The Covid Jab, Sex Workers Urged

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE Sexual Rights Centre (SCRC) has implored sex workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying they are susceptible to the pandemic due to the nature of the work.

Speaking in an interview, SRC Executive Director Musa Sibindi said sex workers should prioritize their health because sex involves physical contact.

“Actually, for sex workers, the key message is that the very nature of the work they do as sex workers is a contact type of activity. So, there is no way they will actually engage with their clients wearing masks and can constantly be sanitizing and social distancing. With that kind of work, observance of COVID-19 prevention protocols becomes a challenge,” Sibindi said.

The SCRC Director said apart from the risks of the oldest profession, the social places which workers solicit for clients like bars are also not safe.

“So, it is incumbent upon them to actually to take the responsibility of their healthy and get vaccinated. I know the major challenge then would how they can be fully empowered to negotiate for their safety with certain clients because even the very places they operate from like bars, the kind of social activities happening there you find people let down their guard in terms of even masking and sanitizing,” she said.

Sibindi reminded the sex workers that getting vaccinated alone is not enough for them not to contract COVID-19.

“So, vaccination is a prevention measure and is not 100 percent, so the key message is to keep exercising a lot of precaution and safety but the very nature that sex is a physical and contact kind of activity and there is no way people can actually indulge in sexual activities without wearing a mask. You will still need to be safe because we do have people who have succumbed to COVID-19 even after receiving their two doses of vaccine,” said Sibindi.

The SCRC Director also urged all sexually active citizens to be jabbed, saying they are also vulnerable to the disease.

“So at least, we are saying sex workers and all of us as citizens should get vaccinated because I believe sex is not just happening among sex workers only but all of us adults are consenting to sexual activities. We need to take responsibility and make sure that we get vaccinated.

Sibinda urged the sex workers to also continue adhere to medication of other ailments which they might be suffering from.

“The very first message is can they get vaccinated and they can also adhere to other treatment because we are championing the message of Integrated Treatment Approach. Some of them are already on Non-Communicable Disease (NCDS) treatment like high blood pressure and many other issues. They should not actually stop. The same message is also around adherence to treatment like HIV/Aids. They should continue with their treatment and get vaccinated because that gives them that external layer of protection,” she said.

She also advised the sex workers to approach her organisation and other stakeholders whenever they have challenges in accessing health services like vaccines.