XVIII International AIDS Conference

Abstract

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The Mexican Coalition of Sex Work in Action: female, male and transgender sex workers in defence of sex workers' human rights, and their right to access prevention, treatment and care of HIV/AIDS and health in general

A. Gil

Aproase A.C., México, Mexico

Issues: In the framework of the XVII International Conference on HIV/AIDS in Mexico, in 2008, we, Sex Workers, organized and set up the “Mexican Coalition for Sex Work in Action”, formed by 16 NGOs of Female, Male and Transgender Sex Workers. Our aim is to ensure Sex Workers' access to comprehensive general health care as a mean of preventing HIV/AIDS and STIs, to defend Sex Workers' human, labor and health rights, and to promote the self-organization of sex workers by creating new Sex Workers' NGOs.
Description: The Coalition organize workshops to train Sex Workers as “Peer Educators” on issues like HIV/AIDS and STI prevention, and human rights. A total of 35 “Peer Educators” of the Coalition cooperate at national level with Health Authorities to raise awareness and ensure that Sex Workers have access to free condoms and lubricants, to free health services that do not stigmatize or discriminate Sex Workers, to free and confidential HIV and STI testing. Furthermore, when a state with a Coalition representative presents a problem related to Sex Work, we organize ourselves, participate of the meetings, and in cooperation with the local Government, seek solutions which will, however, consider our perspective and needs.
Lessons learned: The collaboration between Sex Workers and health authorities has helped to improve the access of Sex Workers to health services and decrease the rate of HIV among Sex Workers in Mexico.
Next steps: We currently advocate to change the law that obliges Sex Workers to undergo HIV testing as a condition of employment, a stigmatizing and discriminating attitude towards Sex Workers. We have already achieved that some Mexican states abolish these conditions and continue advocating for this to be achieved nationally.


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