This letter was sent to Peter Piot to raise concerns about the language and focus of the 2007 UNAIDS Guidance Note: HIV and Sex Work. In particular, it raises concerns about the emphasis on reducing commercial sex rather than HIV, and:
This Guidance Note addresses the urgent need to provide and increase access to HIV programming for sex workers of all genders, HIV positive or negative. The Millennium Development Goals such as girls education, gender equality and poverty reduction, form the background contextual setting for this document. This Guidance Note will assist UN agencies and UNAIDS country programmes to develop sex work and HIV policy and services that are in line with governments commitments to improve their response to HIV/ AIDS, and with the ultimate objective of moving towards Universal Access to comprehensive prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010.
This Guidance Note has been developed to provide a unified approach by the UNAIDS Cosponsoring agencies to the reduction of HIV vulnerabilities in the context of sex work, where sex workers are defined as adults, 18 years and over. Its specific focus is the urgent need to provide access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for all sex workers, and to provide life choices and occupational alternatives to sex work, including for sex workers living with HIV.