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’72% of sex workers in JHB are HIV positive’

Cyril Ramaphosa says he hopes South Africa’s laws will be changed to recognise sex workers.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the launch of the National Health Workers HIV Plan. Picture: Masa Kekana/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Aids Council (Sanac) says about 72 percent of sex workers in Johannesburg are HIV positive.

#HIVPlan Abdullah says 72% of female sex workers in Johannesburg are HIV positive. MK pic.twitter.com/ZfL6KVRkq1

Sanac, together with the health ministry and the social development department, today launched the national sex worker plan in Newtown to curb the rising prevalence of HIV among sex workers.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has joined Sonke Gender Justice, Sex Workers Education Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat), Sisonke and government departments to launch the national sex worker HIV plan.

Sanac Chief Executive, Dr Abdullah Fareed, says the plan was initiated by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who called for a national effort to address the needs of sex workers in June last year.

He says there are about 153,000 sex workers in South Africa.

Fareed says even though sex work is illegal in South Africa, workers have human rights and the HIV plan also aims to minimise the stigma against the profession.

#HIVPlan Abdullah says some sex workers choose to go into the profession while others are forced to by circumstances. MK

Ramaphosa says he hopes South Africa's laws will be changed to recognise sex workers.

Sex workers spoke of their experience of being victimised by the police and health care workers.

#HIVPlan One sex worker speaking of being raped & physically assaulted by a client after she asked he use a condom. MK

Ramaphosa adds it's fitting to launch this plan during human rights month to send a strong message not to violate the rights of sex workers.

#HIVPlan Ramaphosa: Sex work is also work, it's a trade. Like anyone else sex workers have dreams, they're just like all of us. MK

The plan includes providing condoms and Anti-Retrovirals to sex workers among other interventions.

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