Sex workers are often at risk of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For many people, this means that sex workers are a danger to public health and should be jailed or punished to protect the public. This ignores the fact that everyone is responsible for safer sex – not just sex workers. Many doctors and health care groups agree that the on-going criminalisation of sex work drives HIV, and removing the criminal law (decriminalisation) would be a far better way to improve public health.
Decriminalisation is supported by UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation, The Global Commission on HIV and the Law, and the Lancet Journal, as well as human rights organisations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the South African Commission for Gender Equality. This fact sheet covers some of the main facts on sex work and HIV.