Saturday, March 7, 2009


HIV study based solely on street prostitutes

Re: Local study sheds light on HIV; One-quarter of female prostitutes HIV-positive, March 5

There was an error in the reporting of the findings from a B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS study. This study was essentially a review of existing literature about HIV/AIDS prevalence among high-risk populations in Vancouver, including survival sex workers in the Downtown Eastside. However, the reporting wrongly extrapolated its findings to include all sex workers — the vast majority of whom are indoor workers (escorts, erotic massage, independents) who were never among the groups studied. One of the primary myths around sex work is that those involved are vectors of disease. For those who work in the frequently miserable conditions of outdoor survival sex work, HIV/AIDS is obviously a risk due to high addiction rates and perhaps more unwillingness to turn away customers who refuse to use a condom. Indoor sex work is a different industry, one that has gone virtually unstudied and unreported on in Canada. Yet this group of workers is routinely lumped in with survival street workers for the purpose of sweeping statements on the fate and health of sex workers overall.

– Jody Paterson

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Created: March 10, 2009
Last modified: June 20, 2009
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