HIV/AIDS and Prostitution
It is now more than 25 years since HIV/AIDS was declared a global pandemic, yet the strategies necessary to combat it are still issues of great concern. Statistical analysis has indicated that approximately 34 million people live with the virus across the globe with an estimated 22 million dying annually (Hanenberg 69). The demographics of prevalence and HIV incidences continue to change over time. Research studies indicate that prostitutes suffer a larger portion of this infections and deaths, accounting to nearly three quarters of the total worldwide (Hanenberg 70). Worldwide, the pandemic has struck all sectors of life and has affected social economic growth of the global economy. It is believed that a well-written constitution that is supported by governmental laws will help to combat the menace (Weinberg 377).
The initial account of the world’s largest pandemic was first published in 1986; mobility and mortality report of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clearly illustrated the trend. An editorial note used to show the analysis of the report stated that all the patients who were positive were exclusively prostitutes working as homosexuals. This suggested the aspects of the relationship between the disease and prostitution (Weinberg 377). In United States of America, the earliest identification of HIV/AIDS to prostitution continued to dominate the public perception and shaped the civil servants and government responses. Despite the varied evidence of the spread of the disease among the heterosexuals, some of the religious leaders still considered the disease as Gods punishment, to sin thus advocated for quarantining or tattooing of homosexuals and prostitutes (Hanenberg 70).
The combination of panic and denial of HIV/AIDS characterized by the United States response was consequently echoed to the entire world. Majority of African nations negatively denied the disease and deeply resented paying attention. Countries such as China argued that in their republic, there are no homosexuals, prostitutes and drug users thus they were free. In Germany, a recognized federal judge declared the necessity of tattooing and quarantines the infected individuals within their state. In the initial decade of the disease onset, majority of the world countries adopted restrictive laws related to the HIV/AIDS virus. The infection also spark a greater form of stigmatization where the infected were both physically and verbally assaulted. However, when reliable test kits were devised to help diagnosis of the disease much of such legislation soared (Hanenberg 71).
One of the most contentious threats to overcoming the HIV/AIDS pandemic is prostitution. The most vulnerable means of transmission of the disease among the prostitutes is through sexual intercourse, a model that has been considered to fuel the unique infection. Poor laws and negative societal norms have placed prostitutes at relatively disadvantaged position. Prostitutes are biologically susceptible to the HIV/AIDS since they have sex with several partners. During the process, some of them are exploited and used as sex objects by individuals who are already infected while others undergo vulnerable practices such as homosexuality, anal and oral sex. Women involved in this practice are usually vulnerable due to their biological susceptibility, gender inequality and poverty (Barrows 159).
Civil societies were the first groups to respond to this situation. The gay community, community activist, and people living with the disease addressed the society inability to act on the plight of individuals living with the virus. They advocated for change of policy, creation of new medical units and development of education initiatives to illuminate the public on matters pertaining to the disease. The Gay Men’s Health Crisis organization in United States of America and the ACT UP continuously drew unprecedented global attention on the various needs of individuals infected or affected by the pandemic. This led to the Launch of AIDs Support Organization in Uganda, a unit that was quite active and vital across Africa. The year 1986, WHO declaration on its devotion on the global control and prevention of the disease has brought a greater progress on the campaign against the HIV/AIDs virus. Driving the concept of the WHO, many countries were willing to take part in the mitigation without any political identification (Barrows 164).
To date, the state laws play an important role in the controlling the spread of the disease among prostitutes and the entire nation. The global comparative analyses of the law have suggested that legislation and litigation critically intersect the HIV/AIDS and prostitution. As discovered, a well-designed government regulation and legislation may greatly help create systemic variation that may support changes necessary for prevention and treatment of the disease. The legislation will also be quite vital in dispelling the propaganda and stigmatization related to the disease (Barrows 167).
The states’ eminent effort to protect vulnerable individuals from HIV/AIDS is considered as a great call for the recognition and respect for individual human rights and sexual rights under the law. Pursuant to these rights, prostitutes and vulnerable individuals are able to pursue reproductive health issues without any fear. They will be able to receive paternal healthcare, access to the relevant information related to their condition and procure necessary protective devices against the disease. The government legislation is considered vital in the provision of health care and range of services to the prostitutes and other vulnerable individuals. This legislation will advocate for the provision of prevention mechanisms such as male and female condoms, a critical and effective mechanism of HIV/AIDS prevention in such vulnerable areas. The provision of high quality and low cost condoms by the government to the prostitutes will enable them to carry out their business without a greater cohesion and prevent the spread of the disease to greater levels (Gable et al 1780).
The established women rights and the various state governments need to recognize the role of gender on the vulnerability of HIV/AIDS on prostitutes. Violation of women prostitutes should be an issue of the past. Women prostitutes should be encouraged to report incidences of gender violence such as rape, social stigma and gender bias that aims to contain the vulnerability of the disease in the society. Nations that prohibit the businesses of commercial sex workers need to continue as such legislation reduces HIV/AIDS with a greater percentage. However, mechanism such as discrimination, stigmatization and prosecution in the court of law should be greatly avoided. This principle drives the prostitutes underground thus denying them the opportunity to understand most of the matters pertaining to the risks, treatment, and protection option on the HGIV/AIDS (Hanenberg 74).
In conclusion, it is recommended that states and concerned international organizations should review their legal frameworks on issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS and Prostitution. This will ensure that all relevant laws and policies pertaining to the pandemic are adhered to and strengthened, which will help reduce the spread of the virus.
Barrows, Jeffrey. “AN ETHICAL ANALYSIS OF THE HARM REDUCTION APPROACH TO PROSTITUTION.” Ethics & Medicine 24.3 (2008): 159,166,131. ProQuest. 17 Mar. 2014 .
Gable, Lance,J.D., M.P.H., Lawrence O. Gostin J.D., and Hodge, James G, Jr,J.D., L.L.M. “HIV/AIDS, Reproductive and Sexual Health, and the Law.” American Journal of Public Health 98.10 (2008): 1779-86. ProQuest. 17 Mar. 2014
Hanenberg, R., and W. Rojanapithayakorn. “Changes in Prostitution and the AIDS Epidemic in Thailand.” AIDS Care 10.1 (1998): 69-79. ProQuest. 17 Mar. 2014.
Weinberg, Thomas S. “Men Who Sell Sex: International Perspective on Male Prostitution and HIV/AIDS.” Contemporary Sociology 29.2 (2000): 377-8. ProQuest. 17 Mar. 2014