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:
• Interventions that take place in a variety of settings, including bars, clubs, brothels, the street, truck stops, and prisons;
• Targeted interventions that also deal with drug use;
• Interventions directed towards the male clients of female sex workers;
• Programmes that place an emphasis on the power of sex workers to help stop the spread of HIV through the promotion of condom use with clients;
• Engagement of sex workers in policy and programme development and implementation as part of the overall empowerment-building process and for greater programme effectiveness. 

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