UNFPA

Press Release: Sex workers, governments and UN join hands to boost AIDS response in Asia-Pacific region

PATTAYA, Thailand, 15 October 2010 - At the first-ever Asia-Pacific consultation on HIV and sex work, sex workers, government officials and United Nations participants emphasized the need for urgent action to increase focus and positioning of sex work within HIV responses in the region.

Close to 150 delegates from eight countries (China, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Thailand) met in Pattaya, Thailand, to form partnerships and review policies and laws that keep sex workers from accessing HIV services and sexual and reproductive health services.

“Sex work interventions must be central to scaling up the HIV response, and listening to sex workers is crucial,” said Jan Beagle, Deputy-Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) who spoke at the consultation. “Sex workers experience firsthand the effects of laws and harmful enforcement practices that violate their human rights and hamper progress on HIV,” he said.

HIV/AIDS, gender and sex work

This short fact sheet outlines the key issues and HIV risks associated with sex work in many parts of the world including: high rates of STIs and HIV; poverty; low educational level; limited access to healthcare services and prevention commodities; gender inequalities; social stigma and low social status; drug or substance use and; a lack of protective legislation and policies. It suggests that the following types of HIV programmes have been successful in meeting sex workers’ needs:

Migration & Mobility in the Context of HIV and Sex Work

This is a discussion paper prepared for the 1st Asia and the Pacific Regional Consultation on HIV and Sex Work, 12 – 15 October 2010 in Pattaya, Thailand. Among its recommendations are: 

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