"No lectures or stink-eye": the healthcare needs of people in the sex trade in New York City

Persist Health Project
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The present paper has been produced by a Member of NSWP (Persist Health Project) and is a useful read for service providers seeking to shape their services to the needs of sex workers.

The health needs of sex workers are still largely unaddressed or unknown in many conventional health care settings. In New York City (NYC), where selling sex is illegal, sex workers have limited ability to safely and voluntarily receive health and social services. To best shape their vision for a clinic space and assess the current health access of sex workers in New York City, Persist Health Project (Persist) conducted a series of focus groups in the spring of 2013. They collected input on a range of topics including desired services, positive or negative experiences with health services, conceptions of ideal health care or health providers, as well as aspects of sex work that were not addressed by current services. This paper presents the findings of these focus groups and Persist’s corresponding commitments towards establishing a more sustainable and effective health service for sex workers in New York City, such as:

  • Expanding their care coordination program, in order to ensure that sex workers are linked to affirming, non-judgmental health care at every opportunity;
  • Continuing to provide accurate and up to date information to sex workers in NYC about sexual health and general health, via peer health educators and health professionals;
  • Pursuing a clinic space with a community-focused atmosphere, where care moves beyond general and sexual health needs, such as regular testing services, to emphasize peer support and holistic health care;
  • Providing health services at low to no cost whenever possible;
  • Emphasizing the need for affirming and non-judgmental care for sex workers in trainings for other health professionals;
  • Training volunteer students and medical personnel involved in Persist on the needs of sex workers in NYC;
  • Maintaining involvement of sex workers at all levels of the organization; recruiting staff with a range of experiences and identities.

You can download this 32 page pdf document above. This resource is in English.