Briefing Paper: Sex Workers’ Experiences of Stock-outs of HIV/STI Commodities and Treatments


Globally, sex workers are disproportionately affected by HIV, with prevalence estimated to be up to 34 times higher among sex workers than the general population. Access to commodities for HIV prevention, detection and access to treatment is critical to the health and wellbeing of sex workers around the world. Interventions recommended in World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for key populations, including sex workers, include comprehensive condom and lubricant programming; HIV testing and counselling; HIV treatment and care; and sexual and reproductive health interventions. The SWIT includes further recommendations for HIV prevention and care. However, UNAIDS’ Global AIDS Update for 2018 identifies huge discrepancies between the need for commodities and treatments and the actual supply, and reports that 47% of new HIV infections globally are among key populations.

This Briefing Paper explores the experiences of sex workers relating to stock-outs of essential medicines, antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), condoms and lubricants, diagnostics for STIs and HIV, and HIV viral load testing in 20 countries. It provides direct evidence from sex workers; highlighting how these stock-outs result in increased vulnerability to infections, treatment interruptions, HIV-/STI-related drug resistance, late diagnoses, treatment failure, and death. It also provides key recommendations for addressing these issues.

You can download this 17 page paper above. It is available in Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. A Community Guide is also available

This paper is a collaborative effort between the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP).