Undercovered: Condom Seizures Hamper Effort to Curb HIV Among Chinese Sex Workers

CondomsUndercovered is our daily feature bringing attention to excellent reporting on women’s issues worldwide, which we feel deserves a larger audience.

Police in China routinely perform condom seizures as part of a crackdown on sex workers, and this is having the consequence of hindering efforts to curb HIV transmission among high-risk groups.

According to a report in Reuters, sex workers are one of the populations in China where the HIV prevalence is conspicuously high.

Alisa Tang, reporting from Bankok, writes:

Up to 92 percent of the 104,000 cases diagnosed in 2014 resulted from sexual contact, according to research commissioned by Asia Catalyst, which promotes the right to health of marginalised groups in the region.

China provides free condoms for people living with HIV and allocates funds each year to buy condoms for distribution among at-risk populations, including sex workers, it said.

At the same time, police are authorised to crack down on sex work, which is illegal in China, and use condom seizure as its main tactic, Catalyst Asia said in a report.

“When police arrest sex workers, they will search for condoms, and that will decrease sex workers’ willingness to carry and use condoms,” said Tingting Shen, director of advocacy, policy, and research for Asia Catalyst.

You can read the complete report here.

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[photo: robertelyov via Flickr CC BY 2.0]

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