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Prevention/Epidemiology

New Guidelines to Better Prevent HIV in Sex Workers

December 17, 2012

The World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNAIDS, and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects have developed a set of technical recommendations for effective programs to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS and other STDs among sex workers. The complete report, "Prevention and Treatment of HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections for Sex Workers in Low- and Middle-income Countries," was published by the WHO Department of HIV/AIDS in December 2012. The guidelines advise that nations should decriminalize sex work and increase the access of sex workers to health services. Regular, voluntary screening and treatment for sex workers and empowerment regarding condom negotiation were other key elements of the guidelines.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Cheryl O (Phnom Penh Cambodia ) Tue., Dec. 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm EST
Alongside regular 'screening' WHO have recommended periodic presumptive treatment for registered female sex workers. This means giving antibiotics to cure STIs without diagnosis. As the name says it literally presumes disease in female sex workers. It is not ethical because it is not voluntary or based on informed consent. There is no informed answer to the question 'do you want this pill or nothing?' Sex workers have a right to proper STI care and there's no chance of 'getting to zero' without it. WHO have got it wrong here and it's disappointing that the ethical content of WHO recommendations are reported so uncritically.
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