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Wapate Initiative, an initiative a group of commercial sex workers in Thika Town, have launched a sensitisation campaign to educate members of public on benefits of safe sex. They are planning to go transverse the town and its environs with a target to distribute over 50,000 male and female condoms and educate people on the need for engaging in safe s3x. They intend to move to high risk areas including slums and local drink joints where most people frequent for the 'ritual'.

Speaking during a campaign to launch the exercise at Mama Ngina Gardens in Thika on Thursday, the Group's interim director Madam Jane Kimani said that HIV/AIDs prevalence rate in the area was alarmingly getting out of hand and it was a high time someone took charge.

She added that with the festivities drawing near and the tea and coffee payments already made, the risks of more people getting HIV infections was even higher. She called on the local leaders and members of the public to join hands and help curb more HIV infections.

"Everyone in the society has a role to play in this fight. We are all either infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that all is well. People flock these lodgings day and night and what do you think they go to do there? Sing hymns?" She quipped.

According to Madam Kimani, Thika town had more than 400 registered sex workers and over 200 registered gays and lesbians, the more reason we had to urgently address the issue. The number has been growing steadily owing to the emergence of numerous institutions of higher learning in the area as well an the high rate of unemployment among the youth. Thika also played host to several slums, not forgetting being the only hope of livelihood to a host of numerous villages surrounding it.

Her organisation called upon all those who were in the trade but were still unregistered to do so in order to get proper assistance on how to take care of themselves and their clients. By registering she added, they would help the group get the exact number of commercial sex workers in the area as well as making it easier for them to get access of help in case they ran into trouble with clients or the authorities.

 She added that she never regretted her decision to fight for the sex workers even though it cost her marriage. Her husband divorced her due to her crusade to save the sex workers.

Madam Kimani was alarmed by a worrying trend amongst the youth who were more scared of getting pregnant than of contracting HIV/AIDS.

As the sex workers marched through the town streets to commemorate the World Day to End Violence against Sex Workers, they called for legalising prostitution to protect them from assaults.

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