August 5, 2014 – Decriminalize
Anchor lead: Providing HIV services to sex workers is critical to stopping spread of the disease, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Sex work must be decriminalized so that HIV services can be effectively provided to those who work in this area, many studies and position papers at the recent International HIV conference in Melbourne, Australia concluded. Joesph Cofrancesco, Jr, an HIV expert at Johns Hopkins, concurs.
Cofrancesco: Whenever you criminalize an activity you tend to drive it underground and then individuals or patients tend not to feel comfortable or even able to report that activity to the healthcare system, and we lose healthcare. That’s why all the issues about criminalization of men who have sex with men is such a big deal. Certainly sex workers face lots of challenges in their lives, and this just adds to the likelihood that they’re not going to get the appropriate care they need. :30
Cofrancesco says moral judgments must be laid aside and HIV transmission viewed as a medical and population health issue. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.