Transmission Through Tourism Prevention Program (HATP)
"The truth should
be told about the relationship between Tourism and HIV/AIDS
even if it hurts, urgent measures should be undertaken
to arrest the situation before it runs out of hand.
It is not enough to talk about the multi-billion dollar
worth of transactions in the global travel and tourism
industry yearly or about the top ten destinations and
source markets. People need to know the downside of
the industry and human cost involved"
Every year thousands of international tourists visit
the pristine Kenyan beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline
for the famous 3S (Sand, Sun and Sea). A less glamorous
tourist attraction is the 4th S (Sex). Sex tourism attracts
a lot of travelers who travel overseas in order to engage
in sex with the locals or take pornographic pictures
of the locals. This has emerged as a well-developed
component of the commercial sexual exploitation of the
locals hence the need to arrest the transmission of
HIV/AIDS through sex tourism.
Female prostitution is a problem at the Kenyan coastline.
By nightfall, Kenyan coastal towns see the movement
of CSWs from their hide-outs into the streets, bars,
and hotels where tourists go for a drink. The tourists
and those working in the tourism industry tend to be
the primary targets because they are believed to pay
more for sexual services. The areas with the highest
level of prostitution and other associated vices such
as violence, robbery, drug peddling, and alcoholism
are Mombasa-Mtwapa Area and Watamu-Malindi Area since
they are centers for mass tourism. In turn, the presence
of these tourists and individual working in the industry
who are not living with their families has encouraged
large numbers of immigrant casual sex workers who form
the core in sex tourism business along the beaches.
The presence of large numbers of people with risky behavior
towards HIV/AIDS such as CSW and their clients, beach
operators and tourism industry staff at the various
sex tourism "hot spots" along the Kenyan beaches
will further increase the probability of high prevalence
rates of the disease among the general population.
HATP is dedicated to addressing this problem through
the following approaches; Research, Behavior Change
Communication (BCC), Condom Promotion and Distribution
(CPD) and Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT). These
approaches are outlined below.
In order to get an in-depth understanding of the problem
the program aims at commissioning research initiatives
regarding the spread of HIV/AIDS spread through tourism.
The research is undertaken by the programs fully fledged
research department, although consultants are engaged
if the scope is beyond the capability of the department.
The findings of the studies pinpoints on the best approaches
to arrest the scam while not affecting the operations
of the tourism industry.
Behavior Change Communication
BCC is aim at reducing high risk behavior by promoting
sex workers and their clients to negotiate for safer
sex, use of condoms, early and effective treatment of
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs) and finally by
reduction of stigma and discrimination through increased
access to behavior change information. BCC will be utilized
to encourage vulnerable individuals to consistently
use condoms and reduce their overall number of partners.
BCC aims at supplying behavior change information to
tourists' facilities (beach hotels, Villas, bandas,
bars, disco halls, airports and massage parlors).
Condom Promotion and Distribution
CPD is aimed at providing an alternative protective
mechanism for those clients who cannot limit themselves
to abstinence or faithful sexual partnership and those
CSWs who can't quit the trade through improved availability
and accessibility of condoms. The program will be mandated
to distribute both male and female condoms in the sex
tourism "hot spots".
Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT)
HATP will not duplicate the Ministry of Health efforts
in providing VCT services but will seek to complement
their efforts by encouraging the vulnerable individuals
to visit the VCT centers so as to ascertain their HIV