BETHLEHEM – Yoliswa Mazibuko*, who lives in Bethlehem in the Free State has to put her health at risk to provide for her family. Being a single parent to three children has led her to a job she never pictured herself doing at any day: sex work.

“I am HIV positive. I work as a prostitute to generate income and provide for my family,” said *Mazibuko.

Mazibuko she showed OurHealth the new clothes she had bought for her children for the coming winter, paid for with the income she generated.

“I recently bought my children winter, it brings joy to my heart knowing that they will be warm this winter” said Mazibuko

Mazibuko told OurHealth she had been working as sex worker for more than four years.

“I have been in the industry for longer than four years now, but it is only recently that I found out about my HIV status and I am scared,” she said.

She fears that her life will be shortened by the virus and no one will take care of her children if she dies.

“At times I do not use protection (a condom) with the different men I have sex with. I fear that my health is at risk, but what can I do? Sex work is the only means of income that I know,” she said.

Mazibuko’s friends are also all sex workers that is how they make a living. Although this puts their health at risk, the women have families and are determined to bring food on to the table.

*not her real name

Selloane Molakeng is the OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Thabo Mofutsanyana health district in the Free State