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Program in Costa Rica Will Allow Sex Workers to Learn HIV Prevention Methods From Colleagues

January 27, 2009

Commercial sex workers in Costa Rica will have the opportunity to learn about HIV prevention methods from other sex workers through a new program implemented by a local nongovernmental organization and funded by the World Bank, the EFE/Market Watch reports. Officials with the NGO -- called the "La Sala" Association for the Improvement of Quality of Life of Sexual Workers -- will train 22 sex workers to deliver messages about prevention, including condom use, and information about the sex workers' rights. Project coordinator Maria Diaz said the goal of the program is to "empower sexual workers in the matter of prevention."

The program is expected to have a multiplier effect in the commercial sex work industry and raise awareness among customers, brothel owners and workers. "This part will be difficult," Diaz said, adding, "What we want is for the (brothel) managers to understand the advantages of having their locales free of HIV and for them to promote them as places where they apply preventive practices." The program will begin in San Jose and expand to Limon and Puntarenas. The World Bank donated $50,000 to the program (EFE/Market Watch, 1/25).

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