Photos of the HIV/AIDS & Health Information Center set up by our local partners in Mangshi Town. The centre is located in the middle of town adjacent to a busy market, and in a part of town where many sex workers live.
TAG = "STDs"
Our local partners opened up an HIV/AIDS and Health Information Centre in Mangshi during the summer of 2008. The purpose of this office was (a) generally, to provide an information centre for the people of Mangshi to come and find out more about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent and live with the disease and (b) specifically, to provide a safe place for sex workers to meet and receive prevention materials such as condoms, and a safe place to test their blood for HIV.
The CDC people were rather busy in this month with the Beijing programme. They said they had no time for programme activities in villages. So she asked the CDC people to invite some sex workers to the CENTRE in the afternoon of October 27 in order to familiarize herself with the workings of the CENTRE and to meet some of the women who used this resource.. Peer counseling is one of the functions that the CENTRE provides.
11 girls and women between 20 and 50 years old came. Various personal accounts were given concerning why these women worked as sex workers. A woman aged around 45 confided that she had tried various jobs after getting divorced, but that income far enough from supporting her two children, one studying at a university, the other at a senior high, so she chose to do sex work, which enables her to earn 7 times more than what she did before. Financial difficulties and lack of education were a common thread among the various women’s personal accounts.
On september 19-20 we went to see how the CENTRE was running. It turned out to be working fine. Some sex workers came by and inquired about some problems. We interviewed them and some did not mind talking about their life.
During the talking, Claire and two CDC workers handed out a questionaire, checking how much the street sex workers knew about STD’s and HIV/AIDS and what to do to help them protect themselves, their customers and their family members. When the girls and women were not certain, we would provided them with information and discussed the various questions/comments/concerns that arose.
In the evening of September 19, Our team members (Claire and the 7 CDC people) took the questionaire and went interviewing sex works at different venues (massage lounges, KTV-Karaoke, night clubs), trying to figure out how much knowledge they had on HIV/AIDS and other STDs.
In August it rained a lot in Dehong Prefecture, which is a sub-tropical area. Usually it rains throughout the season from June till September, so we decided to carry out the project in different ways. In June and July we couldn’t make up our minds.
Then in late July we decided to set up an INFORMATION INQUIRY CENTRE on a street in Mangshi Town. Most sex workers live in the neighbourhood, and it is also where the market is located. Every day people trade for goods here; and every five days it is a centre of larger-scaled market, when people from towns and villages all over Luxi City come here to sell and buy things.
We set up the CENTRE at this location because it is really the centre and we can more easily get access to common local people who need our service. We furnished the CENTRE on August 6-7 with a TV, a big cupboard, some tables, desks, stools, and some brochures, pamphlets on HIV/AIDS and some sexual diseases such as the clap, syphilis, etc. Condoms are in the glass cupboard so that people visiting our CENTRE can see and ask for them if they need some.