Research-to-Action

Easing sex trade laws 'could lower' HIV rate

The Phnom Penh Post
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Decriminalising sex work could slash the world's HIV infections by a third or more, according to a new study.

Published ysterday in health journal The Lancet, the paper says that punitive treatment of sex workers can "elevate HIV acquisition and transmission risks".

In Cambodia, which has Southeast Asia's highest rate of HIV prevalence, sex work is a central driver of the epidemic.

"Criminalisation and stigma deter access to condoms or health services [and] continue to hamper HIV prevention, treatment, and care efforts," the study says, adding that more outreach is not each.