HIV will not be beaten unless there is a dramatic improvement in the services provided to sex workers — a development that may be made possible only by decriminalising the profession, say top South African researchers as the world’s biggest AIDS conference gets under way this week in Melbourne, Australia.In a special series on HIV and sex workers published by the Lancet on Tuesday, South African researchers estimate that half of South Africa’s 150,000 female sex workers are HIV-positive."We are not going to overcome the epidemic unless we turn our attention to key affected populations," said Linda-Gail Bekker, co-director of the University of Cape Town’s Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and co-author of two papers and a commentary published in the Lancet.Prof Bekker and her colleagues calculated that South African programmes promoting condom use had already reduced HIV incidence by 70% among female sex workers and their clients, and estimated this could be reduced by another 40% over 10 ...

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