Thursday, 20 June 2013

“Treat Us Like Human Beings” – Abuse and HIV in Tanzania

©2013 Human Rights Watch 

“They were three police officers,” said Mwamini, a sex worker. “They beat me with their hands, and kicked me. They were saying, ‘What are you doing here, you’re a prostitute, a dog, you are a pig!’”

After the attack, she had her injuries treated at a hospital, but lied about her profession, fearing the staff would turn her away if they knew the truth. A nurse had once refused to treat her for a sexually transmitted infection because of her sex work.

In Tanzania, HIV appears to be increasing among sex workers, LGBTI people, and people who inject drugs. But these same vulnerable groups have become increasingly distrustful of the police and medical professionals, fearing beatings or humiliation if they seek treatment.