Paula [name changed to protect anonymity] is a sex worker and a patient in MSF’s HIV program. She spoke about some of the other impacts the cyclone has had on her income and safety.
“My work is more risky now,” she said. “Many of the places I used to meet clients have been destroyed by Cyclone Idai. I end up going to more dangerous places. Recently, when I left one of those places, I was approached by three armed men. I had to give them everything.”
“I have fewer clients since the cyclone,” she continued. “I think they cannot afford the same amount as they paid before. Everyone was affected by the storm.”
MSF has run an HIV program in Beira since 2014. The team provides sexual and reproductive health services, including HIV testing and treatment for vulnerable and stigmatized groups, as part of MSF’s transnational “corridor project” along transport routes between Malawi and Mozambique.
Since 2018, the team has also worked in the emergency room of Beira Central Hospital to reduce sickness and mortality in patients with advanced HIV by improving diagnosis, treatment, and continuity of care, and supporting the laboratory and pharmacy.