Prostitution is gaining ground in the Togolese capital, Lomé and its outskirts; as a result the risk of contamination from STIs (Sexually Transmitted infections) and HIV/AIDS has become great. The investigation entitled “Conditions for protection of prostitutes in the face of STIs/HIV-AIDS » is a reportage which describes the conditions under which prostitutes in Lomé and surrounding areas practise their profession of call girls with regard to protection against STIs and HIV/AIDS.
In Lomé and its environs, the areas of major activity in the suburbs of Dékon, Palm Beach, Bè, Adidogomé, Agoè and Baguida are invaded by prostitutes every night. Sex markets are established at all street corners. Thus, 200 prostitution sites and 8000 prostitutes have been identified in Lomé and its environs. Girls wear skimpy dresses and easily approach men they meet to propose to them of a time sexual pleasure. This is done against an amount which varies between 2000 and 7000 or between 15000 and 20000 CFA francs, if it is for the whole night.
The main issue is how these sex workers targeted in this reportage protect themselves. In all, three conditions for protection were mentioned by girls who were interviewed during the investigation. These are the wearing of male condoms, observation of hygienic measures as well as screening for HIV/AIDS. Most of the prostitutes interviewed admitted that male condoms are their preferred means of protection. However, they consider hygienic measures which are meant to help them reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections. In this regard they mention personal hygiene with traditional products. For these girls HIV/AIDS screening constitute one measure of health check. Nevertheless, protection is not always possible in all cases. Some girls accept offers to have intimacy without protection depending on the price paid by the client. Finally, it must be noted that institutions of the state of Togo and civil society organization do initiate sensitization and counseling programmes for sex workers in Lomé and its outskirts.
By Elikplim Goka-Adokanu.
Broadcasted Februay 1st, 2013 on the radio Métropolys-Lomé.
Listen to the programme in French: Les conditions de protection des prostituées face aux risques des IST/VIH-SIDA.