The smart sex workers guide to ensuring meaningful participation in policy development: the global network of sex work projects (NSWP) response to the UNAIDS guidance note on HIV and sex work
R. Morgan Thomas1, M. Seshu2, A. Hunter3, G. Leite4
1Global Network of Sex Work Projects, Global Secretariat, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 2Global Network of Sex Work Projects, SANGRAM/VAMP, Sangli, India, 3Global Network of Sex Work Projects, APNSW, Bangkok, Thailand, 4Global Network of Sex Work Projects, DAVIDA, Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Issues: NSWP was established in 1992 by sex worker rights activists working within sex work projects around the world with the goal of including sex workers voices in HIV policy and programming. In 2007 the NSWP and regional networks rejected the draft UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work, calling for it to be rewritten in line with human rights principles that respect the agency of sex workers. In June 2007 the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board required UNAIDS and its cosponsors to undertake further consultation with the affected community. NSWP responded by forming the Global Working Group on HIV and Sex Work Policy and drafting a human rights-based, HIV focussed document to inform UNAIDS revision of the Guidance Note.
Description: There were no further consultations between NSWP and UNAIDS in 2008 during the drafting of a revised UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work, which was released in March 2009. While NSWP welcomed many of the revisions, there remained concern about four key areas where it was felt the ambiguity in the document could create significant barriers to universal access and effective HIV programming for sex workers around the world. NSWP called for a meeting with the new Executive Director of UNAIDS. At that meeting in May 2009 agreement was reached as to the criteria for the meaningful involvement of sex workers organisations in policy development and a UNAIDS Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work was established, that is jointly organised and co-chaired by UNAIDS and NSWP.
Lessons learned: The Advisory Group met in November 2009 and started work on providing clarification that will inform the implementation of the Guidance Note. The presentation will elaborate on the challenges and opportunities of partnership working.
Next step: The Advisory Group will monitor the roll out of the Guidance Note in key countries.
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