Sex Work, Criminalization, and HIV: Lessons from Advocacy History

Anna Forbes
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Sex workers are frequently omitted from discussions about the links between criminalisation, marginalisation, and increased HIV transmission. At the IAS 2010 conference in Vienna, substantial attention was focused on the negative impacts that criminalisation has on men who have sex with men, injection drug users, and people living with HIV—but very little on its effects on sex workers. Few outside of the Global Village explicitly called for decriminalisation of sex work or mentioned that laws criminalizing HIV transmission and exposure exacerbate the damage already being done to sex workers' health and rights. This article explores this omission, how other hard-hit constituencies have struggled for their place on the HIV/AIDS advocacy agenda, and why the HIV/AIDS field should be actively collaborating with sex workers' rights organisations, particularly on anti-criminalisation work.

This resource's contents include:

  • What do the data say?
  • Scientifically Sound by Politically Unpalatable
  • PEPFAR and Needle Exchange
  • Gay Men: From "Vectors" to a Voice at the Table
  • Criminalising HIV Exposure and Transmission
  • Sex Workers: The "Other" Most-at-Risk Population
  • The Problem with PEPFAR
  • Overcoming the Anti-Prostitution Pledge
  • Other Sex Worker Advocacy Challenges

You can download this 10 page PDF resource above. This resource is in English.