A new GSHI-led research paper in co-authourship with researchers and sex workers from the global south and north shows that decriminalization of sex work could prevent 33-46% of HIV infections in sex work across Kenya, India and Canada.
A press conference and major symposia session were held as part of the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne, Australia to launch a special theme issue series of The Lancet, the world's leading general medical journal, on 'HIV and Sex Work'. Dr. Shannon and GSHI led the first paper in the series in co-authourship with 11 researchers (including GSHI's Dr. Shira Goldenberg, Dr. Kathleen Deering, and Putu Duff) and sex workers from the global south and north. The paper, entitled "Global epidemiology of HIV among female sex workers: Influence of structural determinants" shows the critical role of structural drivers in the global HIV response to sex work, and major gaps in evidence from the heaviest HIV burden settings of Africa, Russia and Eastern Europe. The team modeled how changes in key structural factors (laws, policing, violence, sex work-led efforts, access to prevention and treatment) could shift the course of HIV epidemics in sex work. Across diverse settings of Canada, Kenya and India, decriminalization could have the largest impact on the HIV epidemics, averting 33-46% of HIV infections in sex work over the next decade. The over 20,000 in attendance received a copy of the special issue as part of the AIDS 2014 conference package.