Most sex workers hide what they do for a living from those closest to them – especially their own children, causing pain and distrust mainly because South Africa does not legitimise their work.
Amsterdam’s tolerance of sex work and recreational drugs has translated into better health outcomes for its citizens. Can its approach be adopted by other countries where HIV thrives in the shadows?
The ANC recently voted to decriminalize sex work and Amsterdam’s red light district offers an example of how this could work – but many South African lawmakers support partial decriminalization, where clients rather than sex workers become the criminals.
On the eve of the international AIDS conference in Amsterdam, a South African doctor and a Dutch AIDS activist explain how they smuggled HIV medicine from South Africa to Amsterdam in a nifty inversion of the usual foreign aid story.