January 26, 2022

Sex workers play a vital role in fighting sexually transmitted diseases.

Sex workers are often stigmatized, marginalized and criminalized by the societies in which they live. In various ways, these factors contribute to their vulnerability to HIV.

Even though sex work is at least partially legal in some countries, the law rarely protects sex workers. Around the world, there is a severe lack of legislation and policies protecting sex workers who may be at risk of violence from both state and non-state actors such as law enforcement, partners, family members and their clients.

For example, a sex worker who is raped will generally have little hope of bringing charges against their attacker. This lack of protection leaves sex workers open to abuse, violence and rape, creating an environment which can facilitate the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and AIDs. How ever sex workers play a vital role in fighting sexually transmitted diseases through various ways like condom distribution and testing. UNAIDS also emphasizes the importance of combining HIV prevention strategies for sex workers, including integrating condom distribution with other HIV services and increasing links between HIV services and other sexual and reproductive health services such as family planning services, gynaecological services and maternal health.

At Advocacy for women’s Health Support Initiative, we adopted strategies on how we could channel sex workers into HIV and AIDS prevention campaigns. For example through sensitization campaigns, we encouraged sex workers to go for testing services to our drop in Centres, we also educate them on the proper use of condoms, we have trained a total of 8 female sex workers to act as peer educators and encourage others to go for HIV testing and screening. With the help of our donors like Baylor and American Jewish World Service, we have been able to other HIV prevention services to sex workers in six sub counties in Kasese district, Uganda.