Scarlet Alliance "SEX WORKER LEGAL EMPOWERMENT - 7TH NATIONAL HIV STRATEGY" 7 July 2014
Australia's response to HIV is built on the partnership approach bringing together government and communities affected by HIV, including sex workers.
"Sex workers have contributed to Australia's response through the uptake of condoms and the implementation of safe sex practices with clients.
This is the outcome of community led sex worker programs delivering peer education and outreach to the workplaces of sex workers."Janelle Fawkes, CEO, Scarlet Alliance said.
"There is a culture amongst sex workers in Australia of high levels of condom use and regular testing. Maintaining low rates of HIV amongst sex workers will require continued support for community led HIV prevention programs as outlined in the Strategy." she said.
It is well recognised that the legal empowerment of sex worker communities is essential to an effective HIV response.Yet criminalisation and police approaches including use of condoms as evidence of sex work, continue to create significant barriers to delivery of health promotion programs.
The 7th National Strategy will progress the work Australia committed to when signing on to the UN Political Declaration on HIV. This includes intensify[ing] national efforts to create enabling legal, social and policy frameworks.
Research demonstrates the only model of regulation that enables effective HIV prevention, access to treatment and delivers human rights to sex workers is decriminalisation. The model is in place in NSW and referenced in the 7th National Strategy.
"If Australia is to meet its goal of ending new HIV infections by 2020 it will need to address significant legal barriers for sex workers." Janelle Fawkes, CEO, Scarlet Alliance said.