Mexico – trans women sex workers face obstacles to obtain condoms

sex workDue to different factors, a large number of trans sex workers in Mexico have no access to condoms, many of which were delivered through the country project funded by the Global Fund. Today, many of them face obstacles when trying to obtain condoms, and sometimes they are forced to attend talks at hours not appropriate for them. Furthermore, the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV which is still strongly rooted in our society is also a huge obstacle, since they fear to be linked to HIV, which brings as a consequence not to attend centers where they can obtain condoms.

Mexico establishes, in its constitution, access to health as a right. However, this does not guarantee access to supplies of prevention, so it is necessary to promote behavioral changes among the trans population in order to generate a culture of self-care, but without neglecting the promotion of human rights.

“Many trans sexual workers were badly accustomed to the amount of condoms that they received through the project of the Global Fund, and now they require us the same amount of condoms”, said the head of the program of HIV in Sonora. Given this, Fabiola, trans sex worker, told us that for them this is a huge problem, since they don’t know how to get them “where are we supposed to get condoms?”

On the other hand, it is important to mention that the country project did not work the issues of stigma and discrimination towards this community. These are factors that impede trans sex workers to go for condoms to health centers. In addition to that the service hours are unfriendly and not convenience to them. “If you go to CAPASITS to ask for condoms and you’re seen by some girl, then she goes and tells the others, even if you don’t have HIV”, said Samantha, trans sex worker.

Many of the trans sex workers expressed that already nobody offers them condoms and when they go to ask for them at Clínica la Condesa, they face obstacles, and they are subjected to attend talks at hours in which they prefer to rest to recovery, and then go back to work. “Last year we were visited several times and they gave us many condoms that sometimes we didn’t even use. But suddenly they warned us that there were no more condoms and that if we wanted we had to go to Clínica la Condesa, so we went, and then we were told that they had not condoms left, and if we wanted some condoms we had to attend a workshop, but actually we prefer to rest” said Karla, trans sex worker of Tlalpan.

The Global Fund project has brought many benefits regarding HIV prevention, and it is necessary that the Government, through the Department of health, works the sustainability of these programs supplying condoms and other inputs for prevention.

Finally, it is important that the State fosters the participation of trans sex workers in the design of programs and projects that include the reduction of stigma and discrimination. But above all, to promote the strengthening of civil society organizations led by trans sex workers in the development of social projects, so they can attend the calls of CENSIDA.