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Written by: India Johnson

The idea of using condoms is not as popular as it should be in today’s society. There are lots of people advocating for condom use, yet STD rates are steadily rising. One population in particular is at higher risk for contracting STDs the most; sex workers. When most people think of sex workers, they may think of a prostitute or someone who works on the street. While that description is sometimes true, the title “sex worker” is an overall name that sums up all activities in which a person provides sexual or sexual related services in exchange for money, drugs, housing or other favors. Sex workers can range from street workers, to strippers, all the way to high paid escorts. No matter what the title is the use of condoms are equally important.
It has been proven that condoms are 99.9% affective in protecting any person from contracting STDs or HIV if they are used properly. Some sex workers do not have access to condoms and some do, but others are afraid of carrying them due to possible harassment by law enforcement. Depending on the area, police officers use possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution, not understanding that this is how they protect themselves and other community members who interact with them. Other sex workers, who do not use condoms, use unsafe and risky methods that they believe will reduce their chances of becoming infected such as “pulling out”.  Due to lack of knowledge about this topic, sex workers are unaware that “pulling out” can still result in contracting the HIV infection or other STDs. This, in turn, could potentially transfer to the client and create a domino affect to other community members, therefore, raising the rates of STDs once again.

It is imperative that sex workers use condoms each and every time they engage in sexual behavior. Wearing condoms could actually reduce the STD rates within their population and clients that they interact with, which could potentially lower STD rates overall.

Originally posted to NC Harm Reduction Coalition on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 12:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and HIV AIDS Action.

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