Risky Business Made Safer

Article Date

05 March 2012

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

Livingstone, Zambia, is a bustling border town, filled with truck drivers, immigration officials, money changers and many others who live there or pass through to take advantage of the town’s economic opportunities. With eight neighboring countries, similar towns dot the country’s borders and major transportation routes, which are the heart of the nation’s agriculture, mining and trading activities. Yet economic opportunities are also what make these towns hotbeds for the HIV epidemic. Zambia’s HIV prevalence was an estimated 14 percent: 16 percent among women and just over 12 percent among men. In areas along the borders, the rates are much higher.

Poor women from Zambia and neighboring countries come to these towns to sell sex, using what they earn to feed themselves and send their children to school. These women are vulnerable to HIV and violence because of their limited power with clients. The illegal nature of their work makes it harder for them to access services to protect themselves. Their clients—truck drivers, vendors and traders, as well as uniformed personnel such as police officers, immigration officials and military servicemen—return home to their wives and other partners, spreading HIV throughout towns and across borders.

Corridors of Hope worked closely with these groups to provide HIV prevention information as well as health services through clinics and mobile units. Key to its efforts was a behavior change and communication strategy that engaged directly with sex workers, their clients and the broader community to change risky sexual behavior. Read the full case study, “Risky Business Made Safer: HIV Prevention in Zambia’s Border Towns,” to learn more about the program’s efforts to reduce HIV among most at-risk groups and the general population.