May 23, 1996

Tom Godfrey

AIDS Carriers Can't be Stopped

TORONTO - Scores of Metro-area men are exposing their wives or girlfriends to the deadly HIV virus contracted from at least 10 street hookers who are known to have the disease, a senior city councillor says.

Metro Police and city politicians say there's little they can do to get the diseased prostitutes off the streets since they're not allowed to divulge their medical histories.

"I find it outrageous that there are women out there who are HIV-positive and we can't do anything about it," said Councillor Judy Sgro, chairman of the Metro task force on street prostitution.

Low figure

While Sgro couldn't estimate how many men have been exposed, she said "these girls spread tremendous disease throughout the city. There are a lot of wives and families at stake."

The councillor said the prostitutes are aware of the risk they are putting the men in. "The attitude of the girls is that 'some guy gave this to me and I'm not going alone'," she said.

Sgro said the 10 women identified with HIV by her task force is a very low figure and it's highly likely there are more. She said there are many others who haven't been tested for it.

She said her task force is identifying other HIV-positive prostitutes and is training 10 outreach workers, all former prostitutes, to get these hookers off the street.


She said the outreach workers will patrol the busy hooker areas in Toronto in about four weeks as part of her task force's "Off the Hook" program.

The women will be offered medical, housing and financial aid to help them cope afterwards, she said.

Sgro said six of the women are working the Parkdale area, and another is in the Jane St.-Trethewey Dr. area.

Metro Police said an HIV-positive hooker working the Jane-Trethewey area has been arrested several times, but there's not much more they can do.

One officers said the woman was working the street as recently as Wednesday.

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Created: November 13, 1996
Last modified: November 18, 1996

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