Clandestine prostitution has become a way of survival as many women struggle economically without family or governmental aid. Clandestine or survival sex is practiced when women are facing an economic dilemma. These women are non-literate and have no job skills. Further, they do not see themselves as sex workers because they only “go out” (colloquial for prostituting) occasionally. In light of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, it is important to reach these women as they are exposed to HIV infection and violence. Based on literary research, observations, focus groups and interviews with the personnel working with registered and clandestine sex workers in Senegal in 2009, my paper discusses clandestine prostitution and its impact on HIV/AIDS prevention.

Interventions efforts should link HIV/AIDS prevention programs for sex workers to NGOs’ grassroots projects offering adult literacy classes, skill training and microfinance.