SCARLET ALLIANCE - Sexual Health
As sex workers we have a vast knowledge of sexual health and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI’s) and we can be proud of our successful implementation of safe sex practices in our work.
Many Australian studies have shown Australian sex workers to have lower rates of STI’s than the general community. Scarlet Alliance is campaigning against mandatory testing for sex workers, download our briefing paper and download an academic paper on this topic.
Sex workers play an important role in educating our clients on safer sex practices, including condom use. Our clients are usually not targetted for sexual health education and as such can be naive. We introduce education into our work practices and develop strong strategies to implement safe sex into our work places. As part of each booking (along with each phonecall for private workers)prophylactics are promoted, the use de-stigmatised and even turned into a fantasy for some. Although these skills are not highly acknowledged in society we can be proud of our strong safer sex culture.
Access to anonymous, free testing services has enabled sex workers to self regulate their sexual health and screening. However, there are states where mandatory testing is still in place, even though epidemiology shows this to not be necessary and in fact in opposition with best practice health policy.. Prevention Education delivered by peer educators has resulted in good sexual health, successful implementation of safer sex in the workplace and regular attendance for testing by sex workers.
We are also health consumers and such have the right to treatment and access to health services which do not discriminate against our work or personal choices. We have the right to access health services of our choice and should not have treatment, retraining or other services pushed on to us by service providers.
Sydney Mardi Gras 2006
Discrimination against sex workers is unacceptable. It is also illegal in many states and territories to discriminate against us.
Discrimination against sex workers in regards to sexual health is unfortunately something we often deal with on a day to day basis.
If you have experienced discrimination when accessing health services you can report it and work towards ensuring it will not happen to other workers. Your local sex worker organisation or Scarlet Alliance is a good place to get support to lodge complaints against health services.
If you require STI information specific to sex workers and sex work please contact your state or territory sex worker organisation or Scarlet Alliance.
Mandatory Testing Briefing Paper 2007 This briefing paper was presented by Scarlet Alliance to the Ministerial Advisory Committee on AIDS, Sexual Health and Hepatitis (MACASHH), HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmissible Infections Sub-Committee (HASTI) Sub-Committee, in July 2007, and to the Blood Borne Viruses and STI Subcommittee in October 2007.
To test or not to test? Metzenrath for Scarlet Alliance Western laws have historically tried to control the health records of sex workers, and Australia in colonial times was not different. Sex workers have been viewed as vectors of disease and the laws have reflected this. Compulsory testing not only reinforces this inaccurate and prejudiced view, but it is also discriminatory against workers and if enforced against those who work in the sex industry, should be enforced against the rest of the sexually active population.
Consumer Health Forum Briefing Paper 2 1999 Scarlet Responds to proposals for a National Sexual Health Policy
Ottowa Charter The Ottowa Charter guides the work of Scarlet Alliance member organisations and projects. Placing sexual health within a broader health promotion framework. "Health is created and lived by people within the settings of their everyday life; where they learn, work, play and love. Health is created by caring for oneself and others, by being able to take decisions and have control over one's life circumstances, and by ensuring that the society one lives in creates conditions that allow the attainment of health by all its members." "Health Promotion action means: building healthy public policy, creating supportive environments, strengthening community action, developing personal skills, reorienting health services." "Health promotion goes beyond health care. It puts health on the agenda of policy makers in all sectors and at all levels, directing them to be aware of the health consequences of their decisions and to accept their responsibilities for health. Health promotion policy combines diverse but complementary approaches including legislation, fiscal measures, taxation and organizational change. It is coordinated action that leads to health, income and social policies that foster greater equity."
Anon. Notes, Risk-taking behaviors of clients of female sex workers as opposed to non-client men by Susan Moore Statistics and interesting points from Susan Moore’s research.
Clinic 34 All services here are free of charge – you don’t need to bring your Medicare card or identification. They have a laboratory on-site and so can offer some preliminary results on the day, but for things like blood tests you have to come back to get results. They can also test for HIV and offer counselling and information. It’s a drop-in service too, so no need to make an appointment! However, this means there can be a short-wait. If an STI does show up, they can provide free care. Location: Ground Floor, Health House 87 Mitchell St Darwin, 0800 Phone: (08) 8999 2678
Danila Dilba This service aims to provide culturally appropriate primary health care services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of the greater Darwin area. They have a women’s clinic, a men’s clinic, youth services, sexual health services, and aged care services. Location: Main & Women’s Clinic 32-34 Knuckey St Darwin Phone: (08) 8942 3444 Location: Men’s Clinic 42 McLachlan St, Darwin Phone: (08) 8942 2186 Location: Emotional and Sexual Wellbeing and Sexual Health Clinic 1/5 Bishop St Winnellie Phone: (08) 8941 9177 Youth Service Shop 9/10 Gray Shopping Centre, Essington Avenue Phone: (08) 8932 3166
Clinic 275 STI screening and testing for blood borne viruses are provided here free of charge as well as treatment. Location: 275 North Terrace Adelaide Phone: (08) 8222 5075
ShineSA STI screening, pregnancy testing, treatment and counselling is available here for an annual membership fee of $20. Location: 64c Woodville Road Woodville Telephone: (08) 8300 5300
Sexual Health Service Tasmania This service provides free consultations and sexual health check ups as well as safe sex equipment. Freecall from anywhere in Tasmania: 1800 765 859 Location: 60 Collins Street, Hobart Phone: (03) 6233 3557 Location: 42 Canning Street, Launceston Phone: (03) 6336 2216 Location: 23 Steele Street, Devonport Phone: (03) 6421 7759 Location: 11 Jones Street, Burnie Phone: (03) 6434 6315
the sexual health clinic contact information was updated 27 Jan 2010, for more comprehensive listings please contact your local sex worker organisation
Scarlet Alliance pay our respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island elders and custodians of this land, current, past and future.
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