Mercy Mutonyi

Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme (BHESP) - 2019 Fellow - 2019

Mercy is a Project Manager for the BHESP Global Fund/Kenya Redcross project for female sex workers. She is actively engaged in the national key population, PrEP and adolescent girls and young women’s technical working groups. She is a young advocate with over seven years of experience in HIV prevention programming, working with female sex workers and vulnerable young women in Kenya. She was a co-investigator and lead PrEP ambassador in the IPCP-Kenya PrEP demonstration pilot and was also the project manager of DREAMS Innovation Challenge at BHESP. Mercy participated in the development of PrEP and HIV self-testing guidelines in Kenya.

Fellowship Focus
Mercy influenced the implementation of ethical assisted partner notification services (APNS) among sex workers as part of Kenya’s shift to index testing. She identified barriers to APNS for sex workers and ensured that the new national assisted partner notification/index testing guidelines included them. She also influenced PEPFAR to provide guidance on index testing that respects human rights—something that is now part of implementation monitoring. She amplified the voices of young women and sex workers in HIV prevention research and implementation and in the decriminalization of sex work.

In Their Own Words
The protection of the human rights and the safety of sex workers should be a top priority as the community of female sex workers at different levels participate in index HIV testing. HIV prevention is not about numbers and targets–sex workers’ rights and dignity should be upheld.



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