Research-to-Action

Decriminalization of sex work could reduce HIV infections

The Washington Post
Monday, July 21, 2014

The decriminalization of sex work could significantly decrease global HIV infections among female sex workers, leading to a reduction of at least a third in three countries examined by researchers, according to a new study.

In a paper presented Tuesday morning at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, researchers who studied HIV among female sex workers in Canada, India and Kenya concluded that infections could be reduced by 33 to 46 percent in those countries.

"Across all settings, decriminalization of sex work could have the largest impact on the HIV epidemic among sex workers over just 10 years," said Kate Shannon, an associate professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia and the lead authour of the study. "Governments and policymakers can no longer ignore the evidence."