Reproductive health for sex workers

Filippina women watching a condom demonstration

Irene’s first access to reproductive health services was when she received free condoms from the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) during their outreach activities in 2012.

Mother of three, Irene Villaspino Lorilla, 20, is a sex worker along the streets of Pioneer and in the nearby areas. She left her hometown in 2009 when she was pregnant, fearing that her father would find out that she was no longer a virgin.

During the pregnancy her partner abandoned her. She struggled to find other work due to her limited education. As a sex worker, her estimated monthly earnings is P15,000 (US$300).    

Irene’s first access to reproductive health services was when she received free condoms from the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) during their outreach activities in 2012.

A year later Irene participated in FPOP’s peer education training on adolescent reproductive health. It targeted young girls in sex work, many of them were illiterate.

Since the training, Irene who was pregnant at the time, had actively taken steps to seek the health services offered by FPOP, including obstetric and gynaecological care.

3 days after giving birth later FPOP referred her to hospital for sepsis. She was medicated and made a full recovery after a few days in hospital but discharged because she was unable to pay the hospital bills..

Weeks later Irene returned to the clinic to request an injectable to prevent future pregnancies. The clinic staff assessed her and found that she had contracted an STI from unsafe intercourse 3 earlier. She was given an emergency contraception and both she and her partner were given free STI treatment. Both of them fully recovered from their conditions.

Later Irene participated in FPOP’s peer education and team building session where many of its activities were related to reproductive health.

Although Irene continues sex work she now knows the importance of having information and access to reproductive health services and is grateful that she can rely on FPOP for youth friendly care without discrimination.