MPhil study projects

Experiences of female sex workers in accessing HIV prevention and treatment services in health clinics around urban Maseru, Lesotho

Student: Peter Namane

Country: Lesotho

Despite being recognised as highly susceptible to HIV infection, there remains a lack of understanding regarding the obstacles impeding easy access to HIV prevention and treatment services for female sex workers.

This study aimed to explore and document the encounters of female sex workers accessing HIV prevention and treatment services in selected clinics in the Maseru urban area. The objective was to facilitate an assessment of the efficiency of healthcare provision to this demographic.

Twenty participants who had previously used HIV prevention or treatment services at the selected clinics were randomly chosen. The study revealed that most participants had positive perceptions of healthcare providers, appreciating the quality of educational initiatives. There were however concerns regarding service delivery, including prolonged waiting times, disrupted sessions compromising privacy and judgemental attitudes coupled with irrelevant questioning.

Recommendations advocated for the training of healthcare providers in implementing non-discriminatory practices and the establishment of communication platforms to address provider misconceptions. It also called for services to be tailored to the specific needs of female sex workers while fostering a welcoming healthcare environment.