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Training Manual on Sex Work, HIV and Human Rights

On the occasion of the World AIDS Day, the 1st of December 2015, the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe is proud to launch its Training Manual on Sex Work, HIV and Human Rights. This training manual was developed with the aim to limit the impact of HIV and AIDS among sex workers in the European region and to encourage and facilitate sex workers’ involvement and collective leadership in the response to HIV/AIDS. 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. 

Sex workers’ leadership is a key factor in an effective HIV response. There is evidence that community-led HIV prevention interventions contribute to significant reductions in HIV and STIs among sex workers, for instance, could lead to a 32 per cent reduction in the chances of HIV infection. Therefore, the present manual aims to serve as a tool for organising participatory community trainings on issues related to sex workers’ vulnerability to HIV and human rights. As such, the ICRSE manual wishes to provide individual sex workers and sex worker collectives with the knowledge, skills, and capacity needed to effectively engage in advocacy for sex workers’ right to health at the local, national and international level.

This manual can also be used by service providers 
and allies who want to support meaningful participation and the leadership of sex workers in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of HIV programming.We hope that this resource will help our communities across Europe and Central Asia to identify and challenge barriers to sex workers’ access to HIV-related services and to ensure the development of a rights-based approach to HIV programming that engages meaningfully with sex workers of all genders.
Click on the front cover of the Training Manual on Sex Work, HIV and Human Rights to access it:
1 and 2: The Lancet “Series on HIV and sex workers”, available at:
Manual PowerPoints:
Resource section: 
ICRSE Network updates

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