testing & treatment

Health service barriers to HIV treatment for sex workers in Zimbabwe

Year: 
2013

This study can be used as evidence of the need for governments and health programmes to take the needs and rights of sex workers living with HIV on board!

Although disproportionately affected by HIV, sex workers remain neglected by efforts to expand access to ART. In Zimbabwe, this qualitative research study was carried out to determine some of the reasons sex workers take up HIV referrals and ART initiation.

Human Rights Watch calls for repeal of forcible medical testing and discrimination in Greece

Human Rights Watch released a report on July 4, condemning the use of mandatory health examinations, isolation, and compulsory treatment in Greece, which has been reinstated into law on July 26, upon reappointment of Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis.

Health Regulation No. GY/39A, “Amendments that Concern the Restriction of Transmission of Infectious Diseases,” permits police to detain people without due process for the testing of HIV and other diseases of public health importance, focusing on certain priority groups, including anyone suspected of being a sex worker, intravenous drug users, undocumented migrants, and anyone living without “minimum standards” of hygiene, such as the homeless.

Since the bill was first introduced in April 2012, until April of this year when it was temporarily repealed, dozens of women suspected of being sex workers were forced to take HIV tests. When found positive, they were charged with the felony of “intentional grievous bodily harm,” or “attempted bodily harm” for having unprotected sex with customers.  The police and media published their photographs, HIV status, and personal information, and detained many of these women for months while they awaited trial. In March 2013, almost a full year after the crackdown, the last five of these women were acquitted by the courts, which found “no strong evidence” for charges of intentional harm.

World Health Organisation: consolidated guidelines on the use of anti-retrovirals

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Year: 
2013

The World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines for earlier treatment of HIV at the International Aids Society Conference 2013.

A fact sheet on the guidelines can be accessed here.

Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+): Postition Paper on Treatment as Prevention

Year: 
2013

There is a growing interest in the evidence that antiretroviral therapy (ART) can be used to prevent or reduce transmission of HIV. The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) have recently released their position paper on the use of ART as prevention. The paper focuses on what this means for the general population of people living with HIV (at the individual level) and what it means for public health (at the population level).

Appointment of Regional HIV Policy Officers

This short term project, funded by the Robert Carr Fund for civil society networks, will produce five regional reports documenting four case studies of sex worker-led HIV programming good practice per region, briefing papers on sex workers' access to treatment, and briefing papers of the impact of HIV programming for sex workers that does not reflect a rights-based approach in each of the regions. The regional reports will be collated into a global report and global briefing papers.
 
NSWP is pleased to announce the appointment of the following Regional HIV Policy Officers who will undertake this work in collaboration with the regional networks and with support from local consultants in the organisations that will feature in the good practice reports.

Implications of the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath

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On June 20, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-2 decision in Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc. that the Policy Requirement of the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath, from the U.S. Leadership Act of 2003, violates the First Amendment, and is therefore unconstitutional.
 
A partial victory for the sex worker movement, it unfortunately makes no stated distinction between sex work and human trafficking, and it is not a defence of sex worker rights. However, this ruling may decrease stigma around sex work, by allowing organisations in the United States that receive PEPFAR funding to publically adopt a neutral stance towards sex work, and focus on implementing best practices for public health aims. 

Launch of NSWP+ Website

To mark International Sex Worker Day, we have formally launched the NSWP+ website.

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NSWP+ was formed during the Sex Worker Freedom Festival in 2012, when a group of positive sex workers came together and demanded recognition that:

‘sex workers are not the problem, but part of the solution’

As a platform for all those committed to defending the rights of sex workers living with HIV, NSWP+ now also exists to share information and to communicate the demands and needs of sex workers living with HIV. These original demands are set out below. Sex workers will campaign alongside treatment activists and other key affected populations to defend the human rights of sex workers to appropriate HIV treatment, care, and support.

International Treatment Preparedness Coalition Report, 'Missing the Target: Communities and the Treatment 2.0 Initiative'

Year: 
2012

This 10th Missing the Target report (MTT10) focuses on challenges to the scale-up of HIV services as required to implement the Treatment 2.0 framework. That framework refers to an initiative developed and proposed in June 2010 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) that aims to “catalyse the next phase of HIV treatment scale-up through promoting innovation and efficiency gains.”

Médecins Sans Frontières "Access Campaign": 'Trading Away Health: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)'

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Year: 
2013

Briefing paper produced by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) that outlines the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal being negotiated between the U.S. and ten other Pacific nations.

World Health Organisation recommendations on Prevention & Treatment of HIV/STIs for Sex Workers in low and middle income countries

Year: 
2012

NSWP welcomes the launch today of the ‘Prevention and Treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for sex workers in low- and middle-income countries: Recommendations for a public health approach’. The guidance was developed jointly with WHO,UNFPA, UNAIDS and NSWP who conducted the qualitative survey of sex worker values and preferences relating to the interventions being considered.

The report is designed for use by national public health officials and managers of HIV/AIDS and STI programmes, NGOs and health workers, but will also be of interest to international funding agencies, health policy-makers and advocates. It  combines good practice recommendations derived from ethics and human rights principles, with technical evidence-based recommendations supported by scientific evidence AND the lived experiences of sex workers across the globe.

NSWP particularly welcomes the recommendations that governments should work towards the decriminalisation of sex work and elimination of the unjust application of non-criminal laws and regulations against sex workers which exacerbate sex workers vulnerability to HIV and STIs. In addition we welcome the recommendation that HIV prevention and treatment programmes need to include interventions to enhance community empowerment among sex workers that is sex worker-led and we particularly welcome the recommendation set out in the document that redefines the ethical use of periodic presumptive treatment (PPT) for sex workers.  It emphasises that PPT should only be used as an emergency short term measure under the strictest of conditions and while comprehensive sexual health services are being developed and that PPT must only be offered if its uptake is voluntary, not imposed as part of a coercive or mandatory public health regime.