The Voices and Demands of Positive Sex Workers

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HIV prevention efforts are being scaled up globally, to target sex workers as a key affected population in the HIV response. The voices and experiences of sex workers living with HIV are too often rendered invisible: this means that the additional needs and rights of sex workers living with HIV are often overlooked in forums that support the rights of general populations of people living with HIV. This paper sets out the demands of positive sex workers articulated by sex workers themselves.

NSWP committed to address this invisibility as an annual priority in 2012. Accordingly, initial consultation was carried out during the ‘Sex Worker Freedom Festival (SWFF): The Alternative IAC2012 Event For Sex Workers and Allies’ in Kolkata, India, and was sustained throughout the year through face-to-face meetings, Skype conversations, and continued communication through setting up and maintaining a global advisory group of sex workers living with HIV. During the SWFF, a space was created for and by positive sex workers to meet every day and participate in group workshops on a range of topics that were selected due to their impact on sex workers living with HIV. During these sessions, the sense of frustration and anger among positive sex workers increased in relation to issues such as abusive testing practices; mandatory registration of sex workers living with HIV; the lack of safe, non-judgmental spaces for accessing care and support; inequitable access to treatment and required diagnostics; forced/coercive sterilisation and termination of pregnancies; increased stigma when HIV positive and continuing to work as a sex worker, and the number of preventable deaths of sex workers and others living with HIV due to the impact of trade‑related matters and the growing monopoly of Intellectual Property Rights.


You can download this 13 page resource as a PDF above. This resource is in English.