I just read an article on CNN.com about HIV and soccer (You can find it here). Now, having been a student at U of M for long enough I have learned that everything is interconnected and that, especially in health, pretty much everything affects everything else. Even soccer and HIV.
The article proposed that prostitution should be decriminalized in the months leading up to and during the duration of the world cup in South Africa to better access sex workers, half of whom are estimated to be HIV positive.
Half a million fans are expected to flock to South Africa for the world cup, inevitably increasing the demand for sexual transactions. While years of education about HIV transmission among sex workers in South Africa have increased their positive sexual health practices, such as condom use, often times the clients are the ones who refuse to wear a condom. Sex workers often times don’t feel confident enough to negotiate for condoms.
Some AIDS groups are lobbying for decriminalization of prostitution in hope that it will protect both the sex workers and their clients by increasing condom use and regulating those workers who test positive for HIV and STIs. This, of course is not a perfect system, since HIV positive sex workers who are driven to prostitution due to poverty might still engage in sex for money while the clients might have a false sense of security due to increased regulations of prostitution overall.
Anyway, I am not sure what the solution is, but decriminalizing and regulating sex work, while providing adequate services for those sex workers who test positive, is definitely a start.
Also, I wish everyone a happy, healthy, productive and exciting new year!