NSWP Report on 2003 Meeting with UNAIDS

Paulo Longo
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UNAIDS called a meeting at the Barcelona Aids Conference in July 2002 of program planners, researchers, field workers and activists to begin discussing its work on HIV care and prevention among sex workers and clients. For the NSWP this was an important opportunity to ensure that UNAIDS is aware of the NSWP's concerns about programs that sex workers see as ineffective and/or as contributing to the abuse of sex workers. The meeting was preceded by NSWP demonstrations that drew attention to the negative impact on sex workers' human rights of anti-trafficking and public health measures such as mandatory registration and examination of sex workers that are increasingly being promoted as effective approaches to HIV prevention.

The background to this schism is a lack of contact between UNAIDS and the global and regional networks of sex work projects in recent years. A relationship that had begun well at the outset of the pandemic floundered when the NSWP was unable to come to agreement with UNAIDS about the value of certain research methods and findings and the content of their best practices series including their support for anti-trafficking activities and the "100% Condom Use Policy", both of which the NSWP claims empower police and sex business owners rather than sex workers.

However it is clear that with a "new generation" of people at UNAIDS, and increased recognition that preventing HIV among sex workers is one of the keys to limiting generalized epidemics, there is potential for sex workers to help it improve the work of the various UN agencies in respect of HIV/AIDS and commercial sex.

The meeting took place in Geneva over two days (January 21-22) and the NSWP held a pre-meeting at Apasie the day before and proposed some changes to the agenda. A full list of participants will be included in the official report.

The contents of this report include:

  • NSWP goals for the meeting
  • UNAIDS secretariat and co-sponsors
  • Best practices series
  • Migration, mobility, and trafficking
  • UNAIDS and the global and regional NSWP
  • 100% Condom Use Policy (CUP)
  • Human rights
  • Recommendations

You can download this 6 page PDF resource above. This resource is in English.