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Sex Workers Help Bangladesh Fight HIV

May 1, 2014

This article was reported by Asia Time.

The Asia Times reported that Bangladesh sex workers help keep the country's HIV rate one of the lowest in the world. Bangladesh was one of the first developing countries to make HIV intervention a priority, starting back in the 1990s. The Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF), an HIV and STD advocacy group, began educating sex workers about HIV and sexual safety. Now, sex workers educate and train each other.

"Awareness lessons work like magic," said Mohammad Alamgir Kabir, coordinator of BMSF in Kushtia. "They virtually cost nothing. Initially, we acted as catalysts to train and educate sex workers. Now, sex workers educate their peers for their own safety."

Although Bangladesh has a high STD prevalence and low literacy rates, the country only has reported approximately 3,000 HIV cases. The government's strong political commitment and partnership with nongovernmental organizations are credited for the low HIV incidence by targeting high-risk groups, such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, and transgender people. The government and its partners have placed locations throughout the small, densely populated Asian country to provide awareness and support, including 309 drop-in centers, 98 blood transfusion centers, and 61 voluntary counseling centers.

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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