To the majority of laypersons (and consequently the bulk of the voting population) mandatory testing seems like the least that should be expected from sex workers whether they work legally or not. It is a foregone conclusion that prostitutes spread disease and therefore need to be controlled in some manner if we are to maintain public health safety. In fact, many otherwise liberal individuals and groups will champion the opportunity to test and tax prostitutes as major incentives to legalize.
It matters little that scientific data do NOT support the common belief that sex workers are major contributors of sexually transmitted infections in the USA. The Centers for Disease Control have conducted several tests for HIV seropositivity in prostitutes and consistently conclude “risk factors for AIDS in female prostitutes may be similar to those in other women living in these [tested] geographic areas.” (3) In other words, although the US government would love to prove otherwise, US prostitutes spread no more disease than US housewives and college girls. Some evidence even supports the contention that the presence of prostitutes DECREASES the incidence of STIs as Rita Brock and Susan Thistlethwaite point out in their book, Casting Stones: “When the Chicken Ranch, the famous Texas brothel, was closed, the number of gonorrhea cases in the general population rose substantially. Venereal disease also rose substantially when brothels were closed from 1917 to 1920. U.S Department of Public Health statistics have been consistently reporting that only 5 percent of sexually transmitted disease in the United States is related to prostitution, compared to 30 to 35 percent that is transmitted among sexually active teenagers. . . . The National Research Council notes: ‘Many people fear that prostitutes (who by definition have multiple sex partners) will not adopt safer sex practices with their clients and will therefore be the conduit through which HIV infection will spread to the heterosexual population. Yet existing data on prostitutes do not support this concern.’ “
3. Centers for Disease Control, MMWR Weekly, Epidemiologic Notes and Reports Antibody to Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Female Prostitutes, March 27, 1987 / 36(11);157-61