Sex work

Sex workers, their clients and regular partners are key populations at risk for HIV infection. Contextual factors such as stigma and poverty may further exacerbate sex workers' vulnerability to HIV.

Interventions aimed at empowering sex workers and providing them with HIV prevention, treatment and care, and support services have proven effective in a wide range of formal and informal sex work settings.

Sex workers should be proactively involved in programme design and delivery. The needs and vulnerabilities of sex workers should be considered. Legal and social frameworks, consistent with human rights principles, are also needed.

Priority interventions targeting prevention of sexual transmission of HIV and other STIs among sex workers should include:

  • Promoting and supporting condom use
  • Detection and management of sexually transmitted infections
  • Behaviour change communication through peer outreach
  • HIV testing and counselling
  • Antiretroviral treatment

HIV and STI prevention activities for sex workers can be delivered through health facilities, community-based settings and through peer outreach.

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