The Sixth National HIV Strategy

6.1.7 Sex workers

Page last updated: July 2010

Ensuring sex workers are equipped to maintain safe sex practices, while adapting to a changing industry, requires complex education and community development approaches by sex worker organisations within the context of occupational health and safety in the sex industry. Support for community-based sex worker organisations to provide peer education and outreach—particularly to those who work individually and to migrant and CALD sex workers—should continue to be provided. Innovative access, education and community development approaches are required to engage with this diverse and highly transient community, which includes males (gay-identified and otherwise), people from CALD backgrounds, people who inject drugs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and street-based workers.

Implementation of Australia’s National Training Project has provided important national support for and development opportunities to sex worker peer educators to extend and receive accreditation for their skills. Attention will continue to be given to the professional development needs of the sex work organisation workforce.

Priority actions in HIV prevention

  • Use the expertise of community sector agencies within the partnership to develop and implement an expanded and comprehensive national program aimed at:
    • reversing the resurgent epidemic among gay men through the use of national media, new communication technologies and other relevant approaches
    • maintaining low rates of HIV among priority groups (sex workers and drug users) through the implementation of peer education and community led health promotion.
  • Continue to invest in and monitor prevention programs for priority risk populations.
  • Monitor research developments to inform policy and program development on new prevention technologies before introducing them to local populations.
  • Continue with the professional development of the HIV prevention and health promotion workforce, including by investing in a new generation of peer education and prevention workers.
  • Invest in evaluation and evidence-building approaches to support evidence-based and innovative policy and program decisions.