Prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for sex workers in low- and middle- income countries
The World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with UNFPA, UNAIDS, and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, have developed new guidelines to better protect sex workers from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Sex workers in many places are highly vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) due to multiple factors, including large numbers of sex partners, unsafe working conditions and barriers to the negotiation of consistent condom use. Moreover, sex workers often have little control over these factors because of social marginalization and criminalized work environments. Alcohol, drug use and violence in some settings may further exacerbate their vulnerability and risk.
Male and female condoms are currently the only effective dual protection methods against unintended pregnancy and the transmission of STIs and HIV. In recent years, an important development has been the emergence of new FC products, differing in design and materials, that have the potential to lower cost, improve acceptability and increase choice and options for couples who choose to use FCs as their prevention method. The purpose of this meeting was to develop strategies, recommendations and guidelines for future female condom (FC) parallel programming. This meeting presented an update on FC product technology, shared experiences and plans for FC programming and reviewed current FC programmes and initiatives that will support FC programming more broadly.
The 3rd South African National HIV Communication Survey (NCS) results, released at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., revealed new data that show substantial increases in behaviors that reduce the risk of HIV: condom use, HIV counseling and testing and voluntary medical male circumcision. The data also confirm that exposure to HIV communication programs have a direct impact on people practicing these behaviors.
The report looks at the issue through the prism of national case studies. These pinpoint how a variety of partners have come together, pooling ideas, expertise and resources, to empower women to access female condoms. This is crucial as HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age worldwide, and in sub-Saharan Africa 60 percent of all people living with HIV are female.