Findings from our engagement with women and men indicate that there is a high number of women in transactional sexual relations but do not self-identify as sex workers. These women have sexual partners who are usually married, and support their rentals, food, clothing etc. literally taking care of their financial needs. Most of these relations are semi- permanent and there is limited condom use; increasing the vulnerability of these people to HIV. Conventional sex worker HIV programming is missing this non-identifying group of female sex workers.
Women who financially depend on sexual partners are not only the traditionally defined sex workers. The group include “small houses” ‘sugar babies” “kept women” “escorts” “mistresses” etc. These can be women who live a comfortable or even luxurious lifestyles supported by men of means so that they would be available for sexual pleasure. These are people who do not actually believe they are sex workers and would likely feel insulted being labelled sex workers. Although non‐identifying women differ in socio‐economic and demography to self- identifying sex workers; the factors associated with risk is the same for all the women. Non identifying women are less likely to access services, as they do not have access to information and support structures.
Premised on the notion of leaving no one behind; AWA prioritizes engagements with the Non-Identifying women, linking them to comprehensive health, HIV and social protection services.