269555 Addressing Violence Against Sex Workers in the Context of HIV: What Works? A Global Sex Worker Consultation with the World Health Organization

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Naomi Akers, MPH , Executive Director, St. James Infirmary, San Francisco, CA
Sex work is highly stigmatized, and aspects are criminalized. Sex workers are typically objectified and pathologized by mainstream media, and sex worker issues are frequently misrepresented in the press. The St. James Infirmary (SJI) is a peer-based health clinic for sex workers and their families. In October 2011 we launched a public education campaign. The campaign included a poster on the side of 30 buses and 6 new agency posters. We interviewed and photographed 27 sex workers, their family members and service providers. Each poster features a portrait, and a line of text. The images quotes, layout and design were reviewed by 25 sex workers, SJI staff and 12 members of the general community for feedback. The media campaign was nominated for a consultancy to the World Health Organization (WHO). The consultation brought sex worker organizers from around the world to present successful anti-violence projects and document programmes/strategies to address violence faced by sex workers in the context of HIV. The goal is to develop WHO guidelines on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for sex workers and their clients. The consultation included a rigorous dialogue between sex worker organizers and WHO representatives about the structure of systematic reviews and recommendations, and the barriers which sex worker generated research faces to inclusion in these processes. The media campaign, the process of the consultancy and the WHO systematic review titled “Violence and Links to HIV Infection Among Sex Workers” along with gaps in sex worker research will be presented.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify gaps in sex worker research for the World Health Organization systematic review on “Violence and Links to HIV Infection Among Sex Workers” Evaluate the impact of community-driven media campaigns and compare them with mainstream media as it relates to sex workers rights and health

Keywords: Advocacy, Media

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked at the St. James Infirmary for 10 years. I have conducted health-assessments with sex workers, and have worked as researcher for various studies with other vulnerable populations such as injection-drug users, HIV positive people and pregnant prisoners. I have worked in a variety of sex industry settings and have worked with local and state health officials around health and workplace safety for sex workers.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.