Health and HIV

For the last 25 years the focus of attention on sex workers health has been HIV. However transgender, female and male sex workers and their families are frequently affected by a range of issues that directly and indirectly affect their wellbeing and impact on public health. 

Sex workers in developing countries are disproportionately affected by illnesses and conditions caused by social exclusion, poverty and gender based violence. Lack of access to  sexual and reproductive health services mean that sex workers of all genders are vulnerable to STIs and women are at greater risk of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortion. 

Although the potential for commercial sex to play important roles in expanding HIV epidemics is well recognised, HIV and AIDS-related prevention, treatment and care for sex workers remains inadequate and the specific dynamics of commercial sex in HIV epidemics remains controversial. The same is true of the efficacy and ethics of disease control measures as they apply to sex workers. In recent years controversies have been created by the United States HIV policy which has encouraged the criminalization of sex work in developing countries through conditions of its funding allocations and by the UN which encourages prevention of sex work via poverty reduction. 

Paulo Longo Research Initiative research projects will examine the impact of the architecture of international and national public health interventions and policy. We will map and critique the evolution of established evidence and ‘best practice’ in respect of the health of sex workers and their clients and investigate issues in health policy and programming that affect sex workers. These might include HIV testing policy, new HIV prevention technologies such as microbicides, integration of sexual and reproductive health and HIV services, delivery of sexual and reproductive health services and harm reduction strategies for drug users.


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