Sex workers in Mombasa took to the streets to condemn the shortage of Antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs in the country insisting it was endangering their lives and those Of Kenyans.
In the peaceful demonstration, they carried placards with messages on the importance of the medications and why it was urgent the government make them available so that they could go on with their business.
“Zuia Korona sio ARVS”
”Sex workers kama tunavyojua kazi yao ni kuokoa jahazi, wale wanaume wale hawaezi afford kuenda kwa wake zao kwa sababu ya lockdown inamaanisha lazima watatafuta services kutoka kwetu,” cried the spokesperson.
Chanting “haki yetu Uhai wetu” the sex workers claimed that they are used to Kemsa protocols that take time before the medication can finally reach them and that they were tired of the hide and seek.
A week ago their Homa bay counterparts also demonstrated over the ARVS issue insisting it was dragging the war against HIV back.
“If we don’t take ARVs , it means we will infect our clients with HIV which is not out goals yet we do this work for the benefit of our families,” they lamented.
They accused the government of withholding the medication and were just playing around with people’s minds yet they could make the medicine available and end their fears.
The country is experiencing an acute shortage of the drugs after the supplies stuck in Mombasa port since January because donors had refused to distribute drugs accusing Kemsa of corruption.
Despite the government releasing the medications, the drugs are yet to reach millions of Kenyans who depend on them for their day to day survival
The Kenya Coalition for Access to Essential Medicines has argued that the shortage is caused by monopoly of entity distributing medicine in the country while calling for involvement of more than one supplier.
Reports of defaulters had been reported in several parts of the country which has resulted to several side effects great health risk and a hindrance to lowering HIV/AIDS prevalence.
Many were being forced to seek alternative medication from the Videx (25 mg) and Zerit (30 mg) tablets, a product of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS).
About one in ten Female Sex Workers in Mombasa are infected with HIV.