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Scientists call for the decriminalization of sex work


A prestigious group of HIV researchers made a loud and scientifically supported plea for the decriminalization of sex work at the 20th Annual International AIDS Conference yesterday, during a presentation of a series of seven studies published in The Lancet. The series centers around the importance of filling the gaps in sex work-focused HIV research, and providing sex workers with tools to prevent HIV infection. These additional layers of stigma and criminalization that make it such that governments don’t want to engage, and that’s a loss to all of us, says Stefan Baral, a physician epidemiologist at John Hopkins University. The researcher was among those who presented their work last night, and called for increased support for sex workers. This is problematic because we end up in a dynamic where we know very little about male sex workers. His study shows that part of the problem surrounding past interventions is that researchers have often tried to target male sex workers by targeting the larger population of men who have sex with men.

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