Popular and well-to-do figures in society are major clients of male prostitutes in Bulawayo and many insist on unprotected sex, exposing themselves and their spouses to the risk of contracting diseases, a male prostitute has revealed.
The male sex worker said due to competition for clients among male prostitutes, they sometimes withheld information on their HIV status to clients while some still insisted on unprotected sex even after being told of the positive status. Some of the customers are married men.
“I get various clients of different classes hence I charge accordingly, some of the names I render services to would shock you. Popular and known figures, funny enough they are the same ones that want unprotected sex despite my disclosure that I am HIV positive,” he said.
He said charges for service differed depending on class of the bar or person. Those picked from some city centre bar are charged $5, university students $10, scholars $5 or free, soccer players between $20 and $50 and businessmen on offer. He went on to say some preferred to go to his place especially students yet businessmen would book a lodge.
“Women are really threatened by us providing homosexual services. A lot of males are taking interest in gay sex and are picking us males instead of females to try it out. Unfortunately the money we are making is still minimal and just enough to pay rent and buy food,” he said.
The male sex worker said he was a member of a gay rights organisation and a peer educator in his area.
”I see no difference in a female prostitute and a male prostitute, we are all trying to make ends meet with our God given resource, being gay does not make it less different as we also now have quite a large number of clientele to service,” he said.
The gay men have weekly meetings where they share on challenges they face as sex workers and gay people and attempt to solve each other’s challenges at the same time empowering each other on health matters.