5,370 : The number of sex workers who operate in Kampala during weekends.
3,580 : The number of sex workers who operate in Kampala during week days.
900 : The estimated number of male sex workers operating in Kampala.
By Francis Kagolo
In a study commissioned recently by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), one of the city prostitutes that took part in the research said sex workers help keep marriages running.
“We are sustaining so many marriages,” the report quotes her as saying.
“When there are disagreements at home, men come to us, we comfort them and they go back home when they have cooled down.”
According to the findings, over 6,270 prostitutes operate in the city. It said most of the prostitutes (5,370) are female while about 900 are male.
Some 21.5% of the people who buy prostitutes are married persons who seldom use condoms, said the report which was released on Monday.
The study was conducted in May through the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders Uganda to determine the populations worst affected by HIV/AIDS in all the five divisions of the city.
Dr. Denis Muhangi of Makerere University was the lead researcher.
The report said up to 3,580 female prostitutes operate on week days. The number hits 5,370 on weekends.
It said since some prostitutes operate in multiple spots in a day, the actual number could be lower. Bars, night clubs and casinos are the most common spots for prostitutes. These are followed by hotels and lodges. Others are truck parks, streets, restaurants, and landing sites. A few are home-based.
Kawempe with 23% has the highest number of spots for sex workers followed by Rubaga, Central and Makindye while Nakawa has the least number.
At the launch at the Imperial Royale Hotel, the participants called for increased anti-HIV campaign targeting sex workers instead of banning the trade.
KCCA boss Jenniffer Musisi called for coordination among anti-AIDS agencies for greater results. The head of the mayors association, Dr. John Mugisa, said political leadership was crucial in fighting HIV/AIDS and urged mayors to lead the struggle.
The leader of the national fellowship of Born-again churches, Bishop Joshua Lwere, urged street preachers to woo more prostitutes off the streets.
“We [religious leaders] hate sin but love the sinners,” Lwere said on telephone.
HIV is highest in prostitutes at 45% compared to the national rate of 7.3%.
Some 400 people get HIV daily and 10% of infections are attributed to prostitutes.