Monday, August 06, 2007

Sex and drugs leave Bujumbura's homeless at risk of HIV

Via: IRINnews
Photo: IRINnews

"Thousands of children and adults living rough on the streets of Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, face a daily struggle to eat and find a warm corner to sleep in; many blot out the reality of their situation by turning to sex and drugs."

Talking Points:

  • "Innocent Bagayuwitonze, now 26, has been living on the streets for 12 years. He told IRIN/PlusNews that he used the pittance he earned as a casual labourer to pay local sex workers for their services. Unable to muster the same fee as other men, he only gets lucky when the girls have had a particularly bad night."

  • "We [homeless men and boys] offer them 1,000 francs [US$1]...We negotiate with them when they do not get the rich men they want." Bagayuwitonze and other homeless people regularly get drunk or high on drugs in the evenings, and rarely use condoms, putting them at higher risk of contracting HIV."

  • "Newcomers to the streets usually seek protection from older, more experienced boys, which often entails entering into a sexual relationship with one's protector."

  • "Olivier Ndimubandi, 12, told IRIN/PlusNews about his humiliating rape by his protector, in the presence of other boys on the street."

  • "If a street boy gets infected he dies rapidly because he cannot get drugs."

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