Sandra was brought up by a single parent, her mother. She went to school up to class seven. She started the business of prostitution at the age of 14 years. “At the age of 15, I got a job as a bar maid in Kampala, from where one of the customers impregnated me. I then deliver a baby boy through Cesarean section because doctors said my muscles were not strong enough to support a normal delivery” Sandra recalls.
The man who impregnated Sandra later married her for a short while before they separated shortly after the child allegedly died of pneumonia.
“For a short time, I charged shs. 2,000/= ($1) if the client wanted to have sex with me for the entire night, I charged shs. 4,000/= ($2). We negotiated whether to use condoms or not, I doubted the price for those who wanted sex without condoms” Sandra now at our rehabilitation centre narrated.
Sandra who is HIV positive worked with a group of 9 young girls. “Some men are very rough, some beaten me up. Some refused to pay after having sex with me the all night, while some deliberately refused to use a condom and refused to compensate me for it”. Sandra who lost her mother last year, complains.
Many young girls in the slums of Kampala city within the age bracket of 13 – 17 engage in open prostitution. They are lured into sex business because of absolute poverty. They are not aware of the dangers of HIV and even how it is transmitted. The rate of HIV infection and underage pregnancy amongst these young girls in this area is alarmingly high.
Within our organization, a number of children are HIV positive, of these 85% are girls. There are some two, one aged 5 whom we suspect acquired the virus from her mother and another one aged 9 who was defiled by unknown assailant!