Benard Sorre, Peter Oino
Abstract: Street children are a reality in many urban centers in developing countries and have remained a major impediment to their social and economic development. While on the streets, HIV/AIDS infection among street children continues to be a significant challenge despite the progress that has been made in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment at the national level. As they pursue their livelihoods on the streets, street children embrace a street culture that habitually influences sexual risky behaviors. The circumstances in which street children live and the challenges to which they are subjected to, increase their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and predispose the public to more danger. This can be explained partly by the drives of economics of survival, little or absence of information about the dangers of contracting HIV/AIDS and the risks associated with it, inadequate health facilities attending to street children and inadequate awareness programmes targeting the street children community. This paper argues that for street children to enhance their survival mechanisms on the streets, sexual activities among themselves and/with outsiders on the streets are rife and not safe. Moreover, the attitude of hopelessness about their lives encourages them to engage in unprotected sex, while little information and low level of awareness limits street children from adopting HIV/AIDS preventive measures. Female street children who are also HIV positive engage in sex with unsuspected men who eventually contract the disease. The paper concludes by recommending that those interventions working with street children if they want to succeed in their activities, they should have a holistic approach and also be based on a scientific assessment on the circumstances the street children find themselves in as well as their felt needs. There is also need for street educators and/or counselors to communicate prevention messages to all categories of street children at the same time impart in them a sense that life is worth safeguarding.
Keywords: Street Children, HIV, AIDS, Unprotected sex, The Public, Eldoret Municipality, Kenya