US News and World Report | January 11, 2021
There is “considerable evidence from public health researchers that criminalization of sex work contributes to community violence, propagates crime, blocks access to public health resources, is an ineffective deterrent to participation in sex work, and is deeply harmful to sex workers,” according to an executive summary of the report, an effort by the Whitman-Walker Institute, an LGBTQ-focused community health center in Washington, the Georgetown University O’Neill Institute of National and Global Health Law and HIPS, a nonprofit working to advance the health rights of sex workers.
Through focusing on the stories of sex workers in the district, the report from Whitman-Walker, Georgetown and HIPS shines a light on the specific health challenges facing many sex workers.
Co-authors Benjamin Brooks and Sean Bland relied on interviews with three focus groups of 27 sex workers who were mostly Black and either transgender women or gay or bisexual men. Among young gay and bisexual American men, Black men accounted for 42% of new HIV cases in 2018 in the U.S. A D.C. needs assessment published in 2015, meanwhile, found that 20% of transgender survey respondents reported living with HIV and that transgender respondents who had engaged in sex work were more likely to have HIV than those who had not.