Our Research


An Evaluation of Sex Workers' Health Access


AESHA Project
611 Powell Street
P: 604-569-3701 & 778-891-6252
E: aesha@cfenet.ubc.ca

AESHA is the longest standing project of GSHI. Building on community-based research partnerships since 2004, AESHA was extended in 2010 to a longitudinal evaluation of the physical, social, and policy environment shaping sexual health, HIV vulnerability, and access to care in the street and hidden off-street sex industry. To date, we have interviewed close to 1,000 sex workers who work in street or public place-based settings; venue-based settings, such as micro-brothels, massage parlours, and health enhancement centres; off-street settings, operating independently through self-advertising and/or online advertising; and informal out-call venues, such as bars, saunas, and hotels. The AESHA Project includes ongoing outreach to indoor and outdoor sex work venues by experiential and non-experiential team members and trained nursing staff.

The AESHA project is monitored by a Community Advisory Board of more than 15 agencies representing sex work, women, youth, and sexual health organizations. AESHA findings have been published in dozens of peer-reviewed papers, cited in international policy recommendations (including the Global Commission on HIV and the Law), and presented at multiple community, academic, and public policy events, including in the form of expert witness testimony and legal interventions in challenges to Canada's criminalized prostitution laws and the BC Missing Women’s Inquiry. The AESHA cohort serves as a platform to monitor and evaluate ongoing policies, interventions, and community initiatives and their impact on the health and safety of street and hidden off-street sex workers. 

Open a printable project summary for AESHA

The Gender and Sexual Health Initiative (GSHI) is independent from government and immigration authorities, law enforcement, and religious organizations. GSHI is committed to research that promotes gender and sexual equity and includes access to safe, non-judgmental health care free of stigma and discrimination. The AESHA Project includes outreach to indoor and outdoor venues by experiential teams, including trained nursing staff. GSHI supports the evidence-based decriminalization of all aspects of sex work. GSHI/AESHA intervened in the Bedford case and actively opposed Bill C-36 and the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.