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International News
South Africa to Launch AIDS Plan for Sex Workers

December 18, 2013

This article was reported by reported that Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund), described South Africa's "National Strategic Plan for HIV Prevention, Care, and Treatment for Sex Workers" as a flagship model other nations should adopt. South Africa will launch the model, which formed part of the "National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS, TB, and STIs, 2012-2016," in 2014. The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), the Sex Workers' Education and Advocacy Taskforce, Sisonke Sex Workers Movement, and government agencies, including the Departments of Social Development and Health, developed the plan.

Components of the comprehensive plan included mobilizing resources to increase access to HIV treatment for approximately 153,000 South African sex workers, and reducing discrimination, violence, and human rights offenses against them. In the plan's foreword, SANAC Chief Executive Fareed Abdullah wrote that the health of sex workers was "crucial" to stopping HIV in South Africa because they had the highest risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. According to Dybul, sex workers were 12 times less likely to take antiretroviral drugs than other South Africans.

The Global Fund donated R3 billion in October to supplement prevention and referral services for 2.5 years and would supply additional funds for HIV health services targeting to sex workers.

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