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Intervention by Martine Ago, Ivory Coast:
The United Nations General Assembly
High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS


United Nations Headquarters
New York, USA, June 1, 2006

Your Excellency, the president of the United Nations General Assembly; Your Excellence, the Secretary General of the United Nations; and honored invitees, ladies and gentlemen:

I am Martine Ago, representative of sex professionals, from the Ivory Coast, a country that knows firsthand a military-political crisis with its crushing poverty, violence and degradation of the health system.

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Theme: Health

The criminalisation of sex work in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa leaves sex workers vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse, as well as extortion, from law enforcement officers such as police and border guards. Human rights violations and a lack of safe and supportive working conditions render sex workers particularly vulnerable to HIV. These are some of the findings of this report on the health and rights challenges confronted by female, male, and transgender sex workers in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.

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Women in many cultures have used lemon or lime juice for contraception and vaginal hygiene for centuries; however, despite rumours that say otherwise, these juices are not only ineffective as a microbicide to prevent transmission of HIV, but can actually cause HIV transmission more easily because of the damage that they do to vaginal tissues.

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Theme: Health