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Stigmatized yet always in demand

Sex workers on the frontlines of the HIV response

Stigmatized, often targets of scorn, exclusion and violence – yet always in demand – sex workers exist on the fringes of society. In Malawi, sex workers are five times more at risk of contracting HIV, STIs and unwanted pregnancies than females in the general population. This has health implications for the general population as well. Yet sex workers are largely excluded from healthcare including HIV testing and treatment, and often face stigma and discrimination from health staff.


An MSF project in two southern Malawi districts is helping thousands of sex workers to access health services, designed for their needs.  To harness their own knowledge and experience, MSF employs sex workers as trained community health workers who reach women through discreet networks of trust and confidentiality and help them get the care they need. 

Text: Kate Ribet - Doctors without Borders (MSF)

Photos: Isabel Corthier

Link to publication on MSF

Link to publication on BBC

Malawi, 2019

Please click on the images to enlarge the photo and to read the captions.

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