Sex Workers & HIV/AIDS: Reality Check

Melissa Ditmore’s latest piece at http://www.realitycheck.com: Punishing Sex Workers Won’t Cure HIV/AIDS, Says Ban Ki-moon

Add United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the list of people who understand that arresting and punishing sex workers is counter-productive in the battle against HIV/AIDS. And take the government of Cambodia off that list.

The Global Working Group on HIV and Sex Work Policy wrote to Ban in June to applaud his statement commending the findings of a March report that favored decriminalizing sex work. The Report of the Commission on AIDS in Asia noted that sex workers are part of the solution to preventing the spread of HIV, and advised countries to “avoid programs that accentuate AIDS-related stigma and can be counterproductive. Such programs may include ‘crack-downs’ on red-light areas and arrest of sex workers.”

To express their gratitude for this understanding, sex workers and advocates circulated a statement at the June 11-12 UN High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS as Ban spoke to the gathering in New York. “Sex workers thank [Ban] for his support of their efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” the statement said.

The March report strongly advised countries to enlist sex workers in the effort to prevent the spread of HIV. It included firm recommendations against punitive measures targeting sex work and other frowned-upon behaviors, on the grounds that such approaches have proven counter-productive. The UN Secretary-General supported these recommendations in his statement and sex workers everywhere are grateful.

Unfortunately, some governments continue to deny reality.

Under pressure from the United States, Cambodia outlawed prostitution in February. The government’s promotion of a “no condoms, no sex” program in legal brothels there had succeeded in reducing HIV infection rates, but now those brothels have closed or gone underground, along with bars, karaoke clubs and street areas. Hundreds of women have been arrested, jailed or displaced, while dozens have been raped and beaten by police and prison guards. The HIV prevention and care programs that were working have collapsed.

4 Responses

  1. Given there is a one to 1000 chance of getting HIV during unprotected intercourse it means that a prostitute needs to have sex on average with 1000 infected clients to get infected (thus a minimum of 1000000 of intercourses assuming a spread of 1 over 1000 of HIV in the prostitution clients population;): a client of such a $30.000.000 girl would have at that point a 1 to 1000 probability of becoming infected himself.

    This, even assuming HIV and Aids are connected, makes ‘walking’ exceedingly more dangerous than having unprotected sex with prostitutes.

    Greetings,
    Fabrizio Bartolomucci

  2. How amusing that you are only interested in the clients chances of getting HIV. What about the prostitute? Even according to your erroneous number of 1 in 1,000, if she has sex 3 times a day 5 days a week (VERY conservative number for most prostitutes.) she will be HIV positive in 66 weeks or about a year and a quarter.

    Unfortunately….

    Women actually get HIV at a higher rate than men, so your baseline is wrong. Look it up.

    Secondly, there is a very good chance that the john has frequent sex with other prostitutes. Check out the studies.

    Sex with prostitutes is often rougher than consensual, non-monetary sex which results in more frequent tears of vaginal and anal tissues, thereby increasing their risk exponentially.

    Then of course there is an increase in intravenous drug use among prostitutes, johns, and pimps (who are also having sex with the prostitute as a rule.)

    If you have a pimp who tells you there is very little chance you will get HIV from unprotected sex, you need to do whatever you can to get away from him or her.

    Keep in mind it is not just the Elliot Spitzer millionaire john who offers more money if he can skip the condom. The street john and the craigslist john do the same thing. Thereby proving that johns are incredibly stupid people.

  3. Read The Wisdom of Whores. That will clear up a lot of ideas about sex, sex work and HIV/AIDS.

    XX

  4. >if she has sex 3 times a day 5 days a week (VERY conservative number for most >prostitutes.)

    Where’s the documentation for this statement?

    >Secondly, there is a very good chance that the john has frequent sex with other >prostitutes. Check out the studies.

    you ought not use gender epithet to describe customers. You loose your credibility but it seems that isn’t a priority for you.

    >Sex with prostitutes is often rougher than consensual, non-monetary sex which results in >more frequent tears of vaginal and anal tissues, thereby increasing their risk >exponentially.

    Where is the documentation for this statement?

    >Then of course there is an increase in intravenous drug use among prostitutes, johns, >and pimps (who are also having sex with the prostitute as a rule.)

    Where’s the documentation for this statement?

    >If you have a pimp who tells you there is very little chance you will get HIV from >unprotected sex, you need to do whatever you can to get away from him or her.

    Where’s the documentation for this statement?

    >Keep in mind it is not just the Elliot Spitzer millionaire john who offers more money if >he can skip the condom. The street john and the craigslist john do the same thing. >Thereby proving that johns are incredibly stupid people.

    Elliot Spritzer didn’t offer more money to the worker to do it with out.
    I didn’t hear that on the transcripts. It sounded like he didn’t offer more money and wanted to do it without. And the worker, Kristen held the line for the health and safety.

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