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U.S. Visa Policies Kept Sex Workers, Drug Users From Participating in AIDS 2012

August 9, 2012

The Center for Global Health Policy's "Science Speaks" blog examines how the "U.S. travel bans on people involved in sex work and people who have used illegal drugs ... kept many of the people at highest risk from coming to the [XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012)]" in Washington, D.C., last month. "The result, observers said afterward, was a larger conference with fewer sex workers than had brought their first-hand experiences and concerns to Vienna and Mexico City," according to the blog. Carlos Laudari, senior technical adviser for HIV AIDS prevention at Pathfinder, "and others said those in absentia were not the only ones disempowered; the loss of sex worker and drug user input on how to realize the goals of treatment as prevention, on barriers to funding, testing, health care access, and for that matter, on the difference between sex work and sex trafficking -- commonly, and erroneously equated -- weakened the dialogue and the action they were intended to inform," the blog writes and quotes several other advocates (Barton, 8/8).

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