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World Aids Day Statement

To mark World Aids Day 2017, SWAN and ICRSE, two regional networks for sex workers’ rights in Europe and Central Asia join individuals, organisations and other networks in uniting in the fight against HIV globally, and remembering those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses. Together, SWAN and ICRSE are publishing this joint statement to continue to highlight the key issues sex workers face in relation to health and HIV. We invite sex workers and allies in our region to join us in marking #WorldAIDSDay by including these hashtags on social media, educating themselves using our resources and help us raise awareness of the importance of sex workers’ rights in the fight to end HIV and ensuring nobody is left behind!


#DECRIMINALISE_SEX_WORK. A growing body of evidence show that criminalisation of sex work directly increases HIV prevalence amongst sex worker communities. Any form of criminalisation of sex work - including criminalisation of clients - further marginalise sex workers and limits our access to health services.

Read and share ICRSE’s Intersection Paper on Sex Workers’ Right to Health here!


#END_STIGMA #END_ DISCRIMINATION. Sex workers face structural barriers to health services. In particular, sex workers encounter routine stigma, discrimination and even the denial of services and treatment, which are violations of sex workers’ fundamental right to access ‘the highest attainable standard of health’. Intersecting stigmas also increase the discrimination faced by migrant, trans, and sex workers who use drugs, increasing their vulnerabilities to HIV.

Read and share a Key Population statement developed for European HIV and Hepatitis Testing Week here!


#FUND_RIGHTS_BASED_PROGRAMMING. Health programmes for sex workers will not succeed in tackling health inequalities and HIV without the meaningful involvement of sex workers. Sex worker input into health programmes is the minimum standard of global guidelines, with sex worker-led health programmes showing the most effective in tackling HIV and other STIs amongst sex worker communities. The Sex Worker Implementation Tool is now a normative guideline for Global Fund programming, and must be used to inform and ensure rights based and community led programming for sex workers. Watch and share SWAN’s video on Engaging in Global Fund - A Community Perspective here!


#IMPLEMENT_SWIT Sex workers and other partners such as WHO and UNAIDS have published the Sex Worker Implementation Tool (The SWIT), a programmatic tool which offers guidance on how to deliver best services for sex workers. Evidence-based recommendations include meaningful engagement of sex workers in the development and delivery of services.

Watch and share ICRSE and SWAN’s video ‘United we stand!’ about SWIT here.


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