WHO Develops Online Resource To Help Educate Commercial Sex Workers About HIV Prevention
The World Health Organization and the German international development organization GTZ on Thursday announced they have developed an online resource containing a catalogue of HIV/AIDS prevention best practices for commercial sex workers in an attempt to curb the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, the AP/New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. The "Sex Work Toolkit," which was developed in cooperation with commercial sex networks, is a collection of more than 130 documents, manuals, reports and research studies bringing together 10 years of research on STD prevention. Much of the material focuses on programs of CSW organizations worldwide to improve access to condoms and HIV/AIDS education. "Our studies show that where condoms are unavailable and health services are poor, the rate of AIDS among sex workers may be as high as 90%," Richard Steen, a scientist involved with the project, said. However, prevention programs encouraging condom use among CSWs in Bangkok, Thailand, and Nairobi, Kenya, have resulted in decreases in HIV and STD prevalence (Klapper, AP/New Orleans Times-Picayune, 11/11). Currently, only 16% of CSWs worldwide have access to HIV prevention programs in "sex work settings," according to a WHO release. "Sex workers know better than anyone else about the problems they face, the kind of language and programs that work," according to Friederike Strack of the German sex worker organization HYDRA. She added, "Only by involving them can both male and female sex workers and clients be motivated to make use of condoms and health clinics." The toolkit is a "living document" and will be updated continuously, according to the release. In addition, the resource will be available as a CD-ROM and in hard copy early next year (WHO release, 11/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.