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Neville Southall @NevilleSouthall
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Hi folks! It’s @SexWorkHive here for our Monday night takeover. Today we're tweeting from the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. We're here all week, drawing attention to sex worker issues from around the world. [Thread]
@SexWorkHive Yesterday we held a Sex Workers' Networking Pre-Meeting and over 150 sex workers came along, from many countries all over the world.
@SexWorkHive Sex workers have a long history of organising within the HIV-AIDS movement. Positive* sex workers are often stigmatised as 'spreading' HIV, but we are part of the solution, not the problem.…

* HIV+ Sex Workers
@SexWorkHive We're at the Global Village Sex Worker Network Zone all week talking about decriminalisation, healthcare, HIV prevention, police violence, and how to strengthen our activist networks.

We're also making signs, cos all that stuff can be pretty heavygoing!

@SexWorkHive Criminalisation of sex work puts our health in danger. In many countries, police seize condoms from us and use them as evidence, meaning that many sex workers simply won't carry them for fear of being caught.
@SexWorkHive Today, some activists from Empower Foundation in Thailand staged a great intervention in the main conference arena dressed as The Condom Cops, 'arresting' passers by who had a condom on them. Would you find it harder to use a condom if carrying one could get you arrested?
@SexWorkHive When your work is illegal, there is no one to back you up on the job. Decriminalisation has been shown to enhance our ability to insist on safer sex, and improve our access to healthcare. HIV transmission under decrim is 'extremely low or non-existent' -…
@SexWorkHive HIV stigma impacts sex workers hugely. In 2008, a male sex worker in Australia was convicted of working whilst HIV+ and was outed in the press. The media shaming meant that the average # of SWs getting tested in the area per fortnight dropped from thirty to less than two.
@SexWorkHive No one wanted to risk being told that they too were living with HIV – and become a target for the same furore. Time and again, we see that interventions in the name of ‘public health’ have the opposite effect when they drive sex workers away from healthcare.
@SexWorkHive 'Public health' also means the health of sex workers, including sex workers living with HIV. Punishment is not the solution - HIV prevention has to be a collaboration with sex workers and Positive people themselves.
@SexWorkHive The HIV-AIDS movement gets lots of its funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.

Trouble is, PEPFAR requires recipients to be explicitly anti- sex work if they want to get the $$ - they are made to sign the ‘anti-prostitution pledge.’ 👎👎👎
@SexWorkHive The anti-prostitution pledge cuts sex workers off from organisations and services that they desperately need, essentially by bribing them to turn their back on us.
@SexWorkHive But although we are deprived of funding, we are persistent; we keep popping up, armed with evidence, making the same demands for safety and healthcare.
@SexWorkHive Sex workers living with HIV want:
⚪ To be treated as equals in the HIV-AIDS movement
⚪ Universal free access to treatment like PreP & ARVs
⚪ Decriminalised prostitution, and the freedom to carry condoms
⚪ Inclusion in HIV prevention policy discussions
🔘 All of the above! :)
@SexWorkHive If you tune into activist discussions about HIV, you might hear ppl talking about "90/90/90" - this is a concept developed by the UN in 2013. The idea is that by 2020, 90% of ppl w/ HIV will be diagnosed, 90% of them will be on ARV treatment + 90% of those will be 'undetectable'
@SexWorkHive In other words, virally suppressed. Viral suppression is when a person’s viral load - the amount of virus in their blood - is reduced to an undetectable level. Undetectable means unstransmittable. #ScienceNotStigma
@SexWorkHive Anyway, that's all from us - it's been a long day at the International AIDS Conference, and there's so much more to go! Thanks for tuning in to this edition of #TwitterSwarm. Catch you on the #SexWorkersatAIDS2018 hashtag for the rest of the week!
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