Hasi, 22, once had a normal family life. It all changed drastically when her husband left her and their five year old son. With no income and nowhere to turn to, Hasi found no other alternative than to become a sex worker to support herself and her child.
Hasi is one of the 74 300 female sex workers in Bangladesh. They have a high risk of getting an HIV infection. Hasi, like many of the other sex workers, was unable to get even the most basic services at hospitals and clinics. Life was a daily struggle to provide income for herself and her son. Even access to education for her son was a challenge.
It was hard for Hasi to keep her sex work private and also to protect herself from the risks posed by her clients. They often were not willing to use condom which in turn exposed her to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Hasi's situation finally started to improve when an outreach worker of a Drop in Center (DiC) offered her their services. The center is run by Save the Children's partner organization BWHC under the HIV prevention program.
Save the Children and its partners work to minimize the spreading of HIV and its impacts on individuals, families, communities and the society. The services are funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.As a part of its mission, it operates 101 Drop in Centers which provide free condoms, treatment for sexually transmitted infections and other medical services.Outreach workers are engaged in winning the women's confidentiality and trust. Hasi and many other sex workers feel that DiCs have become their second homes.Hasi regularly visits the DiC where she receives condoms and general health services.
She has been encouraged to safeguard her son and directed to services which promote her son's right to education and health. He was recently immunized.With the support from her DiC counsellor Hasi is now able to protect herself and is thus less vulnerable to HIV. She has also been empowered to say no to a client if safety is compromised.
Since Hasi was connected to Save the Children's partners she has not been afraid of HIV, she knows how to protect herself and is able to access regular health services. Her son is also connected to these services which ensure him protection and better health conditions.