‘Working it’ for PrEP through the Bereka Girl campaign for sex workers

The Bereka Girl (translated to English, it means ‘Work, Girl’) campaign encourages sex workers to enrol in a cellphone-based support programme during the first three months of their PrEP journey. Sex Worker Programme teams have found the first few months to be the hardest to retain sex workers on PrEP. A USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data)-based loyalty programme was therefore developed to help sex workers stay on PreP and HIV negative.
Sex workers who start PrEP enrol on the Bereka Girl programme by dialling a number, and following some prompts, similar to the process used to check an airtime balance on a cellphone. They then receive a daily sms offering support for the first 14 days of their PrEP journey, as well as sms reminders when it is time for any appointments. The first three months of their PrEP journey are also incentivised.

The Bereka Girl campaign evolved from being a mechanism to incentivise PrEP uptake and adherence to it being utilised as a monitoring tool to assess the sex workers journey through PrEP – when the sex workers drop off from PrEP, case managers are dispatched to provide adherence counselling.