World AIDS Day 2022: How sex workers can help the world in the fight against AIDS

World AIDS Day 2022: How sex workers can help the world in the fight against AIDS

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Sex workers and AIDS

Today, the 1st of December, is World AIDS Day: an opportunity to draw attention to the ongoing fight against HIV. Along with men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who inject drugs and prisoners and other incarcerated people, sex workers are one of the key population groups that are disproportionately affected by HIV and lack adequate access to HIV services. Therefore, including sex workers in HIV responses is crucial.

The recommended essential interventions include enabling interventions and health interventions focused on HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs. Furthermore, WHO recommends other additional interventions that are essential for sex workers’ broader health.

Also Read: Making sense of prostitution, human trafficking and sex work and what’s the way forward

Out of the recommended package of interventions, WHO prioritises enabling interventions that address the various barriers preventing access to health services. They include the removal of all punitive laws, policies and practices regarding sex work, empowering sex work communities as well as reducing stigma and discrimination and addressing violence that sex workers face. Recommended essential health interventions cover HIV, viral hepatitis and STI prevention, including availability of PrEP, PEP, condoms and lubricant, as well as testing and treatment for HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs. Finally, recommended essential health interventions for broader health include reproductive and sexual health services, such as safe abortions and contraception, mental health services as well as screening and treatment for hazardous and harmful alcohol and other substance use.

 

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