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Sex Work, HIV/AIDS And Human Rights In Central And Eastern Europe And Central Asia

"Sex workers are part of the solution in the fight against HIV. And sex workers need workers' rights and human rights in order to fight AIDS."
-- Anna-Louise Crago of Stella, a Montreal-based support group for sex workers at the 2006 International AIDS Conference, Toronto, Canada.

A report released last year warns of HIV crisis in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, if policies protecting sex workers and public are not created. It shows that this region experiences one of the fastest-growing and mainly drug use-driven HIV epidemics in the world. It also shows that sex work, drug use, and HIV are inextricably linked. Comprehensive action and greater commitment is critical to prevent the spread of HIV among sex workers and into the general population, says the report produced by Central and Eastern European Harm Reduction Network. More

To tackle the epidemic’s underlying causes, the report calls for lawmakers, health authorities, and police to revise policies and practices around sex work, drug use, HIV testing, and migration that trample sex workers’ human rights and restrict their access to healthcare. Sex workers should be decriminalized and involved in all government-organized HIV/AIDS and human rights initiatives, and governments should seriously address social marginalization, economic exclusion, and violence against sex workers. More importantly, programs aimed at reaching sex workers with prevention services need to be expanded. Report in English and Russian can be found here.

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