HIV and Sex Workers (The Lancet, 2014)


This special edition of the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, consists of a series of seven papers investigating the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide. It calls for the decriminalisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The papers outline how stigma, discrimination and criminalisation in societies cause substantial barriers for sex workers in accessing prevention, treatment and care services. They examine how these social, legal, and economic injustices contribute to sex workers high risk of acquiring HIV, including the need to work “underground” (avoiding contact with authorities) and facing directs risks of violence and abuse.

An infographic accompanying the series addresses some of the myths about sex work and the spread of HIV.