Brazilian national response to HIV/AIDS amongst sex workers

Brazilian national response to HIV/AIDS amongst sex workers

HIV/AIDS prevention and health care among sex workers

National STI/HIV/AIDS prevention policies and programmes directed at sex workers adopted in Brazil since the late 1980s have had significant positive effects in:

  • opening spaces forsex workers to participate as citizens
  • providing visibility to their experiences
  • promoting human rights
  • contributing to overcoming stigma and discrimination related to sex work.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s the shift towards a specific national strategy to respond to the AIDS epidemic among women inevitably implied a policy shift that included prevention and treatment guidelines specifically geared to sex workers.

Remaining challenges include:
  • in both Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro, the quality of the public health response to the needs of sex workers’ prevention and healthcare remains limited and poor.
  • when asked about the scope and quality of services provided to sex workers, health managers say that by and large, it is restricted to health promotion.
  • prejudice, stigma, and discrimination are recurrent themes in the interviews with health professionals in Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro.
  • although health managers and professionals interviewed demonstrated great sensitivity about issues of stigma, prejudice, and discrimination, biases were also identified in the ways they portray sex workers.