Key Populations

Key populations are groups where vulnerability and high risk converge. These populations are at higher risk of being infected by HIV, and play a key role in how HIV spreads in the general population. Their vulnerability is compounded by various factors which include among others; personal attributes, social mobility, diverse sexual orientation and gender identity, risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse, unprotected sex, exchange of sex for gain. Environmental factors include poverty, stigma & discrimination, inaccessibility to services and criminalization of their activities. In the country the groups include; men who have sex with other men, sex workers, people who inject drugs and prisoners.

Vulnerable populations are groups of people who are mainly vulnerable to HIV Infection in certain situations or contexts. Furthermore, the country has identified mobility and migration as one of the drivers of HIV. The groups include mobile populations, people living with disability and young women (aged 15-24 years). Mobile populations includes; factory workers, cane cutters (seasonal workers), transport operators, construction workers, long-distance truck drivers and uniformed forces.

The Key populations unit is responsible for designing HIV intervention targeting key populations. The program strives to address these barriers and ensure access to health services by key populations.



The unit is supported by multiple partners for different interventions which include the following:

  • Technical and financial: World Health Organizations (WHO), UNAIDS, USAID, PEPFAR, UNODC, UNDP, COC Netherlands, Global Fund, NERCHA & CANGO
  • Behavioural interventions: HC3, FHI360 LINKAGES, Family Life Association of Swaziland (FLAS), SWAPOL, MSF, Sakha indvodza, SACRO, Community based Organizations – Rock of Hope, House of our pride, and Health Plus for Men,
  • BIO medical interventions & capacity building:URC, ICAP, EGPAF/AIDS FREE & FLAS, AHF.
  1. Demand creation for uptake of services
  2. Improve access to services
    • Address stigma and discrimination in health facilities through trainings and mentorship
    • Sensitize police on health needs of key populations
    • Identification of facilities that can be centres of excellence for KPs
    • Use of peer navigation program for linking clients to care and treatment
    • Mobile outreach unit
  3. Strengthen the KP M&E system
  4. Research
  • Bio-behavioural surveillance survey study (2011).
  • Legal environment assessment(2013); (available for programmers).
  • Size estimation and mapping of services and venues for key populations(2015); (available for programmers).
  • Programme guide for key populations services package.