Women At Risk Project 
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Project Focus
HIV Prevention and Care

Project Location
Esselen Street Clinic, Hillbrow, with daily outreach to local brothels.

Duration of Project
Ongoing since 1997

Partners City of Johannesburg

Project Donors
Various, including in kind support from the City of Johannesburg

Tiisetso Motloung, Women At Risk Project Co-ordinator

Project Aim/ Objective
The project aims to reduce the rate of STI and HIV transmission by providing STI treatment services which are accessible and acceptable to sex workers, and to increase access to STI/HIV prevention, through the distribution of female and male condoms and IEC material.

Project Activities
The Women At Risk Project provides a mobile clinic and outreach support in brothels in the inner city of Johannesburg, assessing, diagnosing and giving appropriate treatment to sex workers and their clients.

The project encourages sex workers to access VCT and provides VCT services, CD4 screening and referrals for ARV treatment and management, health education and workshops related to behavioural and lifestyle changes. In addition, the project works to minimise the rate of termination of pregnancies and cervical cancer by providing family planning services and screening. The project provides referral into other appropriate clinical and non clinical services, and works with service providers in local clinics to sensitise them to the needs of this group. Lastly, the project provides support to those who wish to leave sex work through support and referral.

It should be noted that this is a difficult-to-reach group, for whom improved health outcomes play a key role in HIV and STI prevention.

Anticipated/Actual Results

  • Expansion of site coverage from 6 brothels in 2002 to 14 in 2006. Special clinics held daily at Esselen Clinic and at the brothels.
  • Over 8,000 clients seen since mid 2002, with 6,430 clients treated for STI’s
  • 435 VCT sessions conducted (since Jan 04); 312 positive; 238 CD4 counts done.
  • 6,407 people attended health education sessions
  • 5,025,290 male condoms distributed to inner city brothels
  • 8,188 female condoms distributed to inner city brothels
  • Sex Worker research and state of the art symposium held, with report produced (2003).
  • Regular participation in CoJ and other national campaign events, including World AIDS Day, Condom Week, World TB Day, 16 days of activism against gender violence.
  • Provision of technical advice and support to CoJ and DoH relating to sex worker issues.
Additional Outputs
  • State of the Art Symposium Report

Future Plans
  • Continued expansion of the service (resource permitting)
  • Increased referral to other services and encouragement of partner notification
  • Re-vamp of information materials distributed to sex workers and their clients
  • Review of best practice and research opportunities to encourage replication and programme improvement.

 Projects in the HIV Management Cluster:

  Counselling Improvement Programme
  Inner City Clinical Support Team
  Maternal Health & HIV Project (MHHIV)
  HIV Management Cluster Research Projects
  HIV Training
  Essellen Street Clinic Best Practice Project
  Mobile Clinic Support Team (MCST)
  Primary Health Care Project
  Women At Risk
  Young SA women's increased risk of HIV