Cancer testing for sex workers

By Judith Sibanda

THE Victoria Falls Wellness Centre has introduced cancer treatment services to rural and urban sex workers, amid a realisation that cervical cancer was the leading cause of death in the sector.

In an interview with the Wellness Centre counsellor Ntombi Ndlovu said though they had managed to screen for HIV in Hwange West district, they still battled to control the disease in Victoria Falls urban.

“The plans for the year will be to continue with what we have been doing. The clinic offers other range of health services including primary health care, sexually transmitted infections treatment, counselling and also TB and malaria management,” she said.

“We have introduced a new service for sex workers that is the pap smear screening for cancer and this too is not limited to sex workers alone.

“So when they come for HIV test, we also introduce cancer screening and we hope that the response will be positive. We have also introduced a crisis response team that deals with violence against sex workers.

“We offer services to those that would’ve been harmed sexually or physically during the sex work. We give them treatment before referring them to human rights organisations after accompanying them to the police station and some have come forward so far.”

Ndlovu said the community uptake and response to HIV treatment services was high.

“The uptake of HIV services is very high, especially in urban areas. So far, we haven’t been to the rural areas except for Lupinyu Business Centre. We usually conduct moonlight testing where we test at night since 2013 because our target group are the sex workers and truck drivers including communities as well,” she said.

 “Here in Victoria Falls, the HIV prevalence is very high among sex workers and the challenges we usually face is that community members shun testing saying that it is for them (sex workers) and that becomes a huge challenge in efforts to fight the disease.”

Once a patient has been found HIV positive, the clinic offers counselling services before referring them to the main hospital for Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART).

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button