The Impact of Non-rights Based HIV Programming For Sex Workers Around the World


Sex workers constitute a key population affected by HIV, with multiple factors contributing to their vulnerability. Around the world, HIV programming falls short of taking these factors into account and actively working towards their reduction. Sex workers are put at risk of exposure to HIV by criminalisation; violence; unsafe working conditions; violations of their human rights; stigma, discrimination and social marginalisation; drug and alcohol use; unequal access to appropriate health services; minimal access to HIV prevention tools (such as safe sex supplies and safer injecting equipment); barriers to negotiation of safe sex with clients; offers of higher fees for unprotected sex; and an absence of HIV-related information targeted at sex workers, due to insufficient funding for rights-based and sex worker led programming.  This Briefing Paper discusses these in detail.

Contents include:

  • Introduction
  • Effects of Criminalisation
  • Deterrents to Accessing HIV Services
    • Stigma and Moral Judgment
    • Practical Barriers
    • Lack of Health Insurance
    • Lack of Confidentiality
    • Repressive Measures Impacts Sex Workers who Use Drugs
    • Repressive Measures impacting HIV-Positive Sex Workers
  • Mandatory Testing