Sexworkers part of national HIV plan
REACHING out to sexworkers as a population vulnerable to HIV is part of the country's strategic health plan, SA National Aids Council chief executive Fareed Abdullah said.
He said part of the plan was to prevent new infections and this meant helping "key populations" who represented most of the new infections.
"These [efforts] will have a more profound effect going forward in key populations."
Abdullah said the plan recognised sexworkers as a key population.
Department of health HIV-Aids prevention director Thato Chidarikire said about 19.8% of new HIV infections were from sexworkers.
Men, another key population, represented 9.2% of all new infections.
The plan came under criticism from the floor of the sexworkers symposium in Boksburg, Gauteng.
Sexworker activist Shane Tetzer criticised it for not proposing decriminalisation of sexwork.
"As a sexworker I don't find anything in this plan for decriminalisation," she said.
"How can you talk about outreach and an enabling environment without decriminalisation?"
Abdullah acknowledged decriminalisation was an important issue, but said it had to be pushed through the legislative process.