Worlds AIDS Day
Since the outbreak of the HIV epidemic in the 1980s, sex workers have been among those disproportionately affected by HIV. They have also played a key role globally and in Europe in the response to HIV, campaigning for and implementing programmes to promote sex workers’ health and human rights. Today, health projects by and for sex workers are recognised best practices by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UN agencies.
Decriminalisation of sex work and safer work environments could significantly reduce HIV infections among sex workers and the general population1. Sex workers’ demands for decriminalisation and the recognition of sex workers’ rights have been supported by several United Nations agencies and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Since 2009, these agencies have repeatedly voiced their concerns about sex workers’ vulnerabilities to HIV and pointed to the criminalisation of sex work, repressive sex work policies, and the stigma, violence, and discrimination faced by sex workers as the main factors contributing to increased risks of HIV infections among sex worker communities.