Legalization of sex work helps to reduce the prevalence of HIV in Europe
According to a recent analysis of legislation, criminalization of all aspects of sex work leads to higher prevalence of HIV among sex workers living with HIV compared to countries that have legalized some aspects of sex work. Data for the analysis came from 27 countries in which the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control have an estimate of the proportion of sex workers living with HIV. It was conducted by a group of European scientists and published in an online edition of The Lancet HIV.
Investigators found that the average prevalence of HIV among sex workers in ten countries where the practice is illegal was 4.0%, compared to 0.5% in 17 countries where some aspects of sex work have been legalized.
Removal of criminal laws not only protects sex workers from the risk of violence but also improves their access to HIV prevention and treatment.
“Our findings suggest that the legalization of some aspects of sex work might help reduce HIV prevalence in this high-risk group, particularly in countries where the judiciary is effective and fair,” researchers stated.