The Blame Game

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


6 thoughts on “The Blame Game

  1. Love your detailed comment and citations on the data I already found illustrated as slides on I cited you and them on our German prostitution portal SEXWORKER.AT:

    In Austria mandatory testing is still governing policy and many prostitutes are in favour of this although there are many complaints on the un-human routines they experience in the medical institutions. In Germany mandatory testing was cancelled some years ago and free SDI clinics are available in big cities.

  2. 1) Prostitution in America is only legal in the state of Nevada and there only in certain areas.
    2) Weekly check ups on prostitutes would be a good idea.
    3) My city”s “Swat” studs are happy they just busted a string of Oriental massage parlors. In my book the chicken shits are making easy busts while crime, drug sales and gang activity runs rampant. But they shoot back don’t they?

  3. Thanks so much for posting a comment C. George. Just a couple of clarifications: “In Rhode Island, the act of sex for money is not illegal, but street solicitation and operating a brothel are.”

    Testing for STI’s (Sexually Transmitted Infections) does NOT make sense in most sexual scenarios. Like testing one’s blood pressure, it is a good thing to know for the person getting tested. But as with other tests, it does NOT afford any automatic health benefits. You have to CHANGE your BEHAVIOR to accomplish any advantage. So the question becomes what kind of behavioral changes will result from testing?

    The reason two people might want to get tested is so they can feel safer about having unprotected sex. Even then this only makes sense if both people are completely honest and will be absolutely sexually exclusive with each other. Testing is touted as a solution to the spread of disease in the mainstream porn industry. And yet, individuals with current and valid cards supposedly ensuring them to be “disease free” have spread something as serious as HIV to their colleagues.

    Obviously the only way to be safe is to use latex barriers. Prostitutes almost always use condoms in the USA unless they have sex with their primary partner. The real result from testing prostitutes is to create a population of prostitutes deemed “safe” and thereby increase the desire on the part of clients to negotiate and pay for unprotected sex. In this way, testing can actually lead to the spread of more disease.

    Why don’t you hear about that? Because the legal Nevada brothels want to assure their customers that their prostitutes are “inspected and safe” not unlike most businesses want to create safety and trust with their customers. While the customers of the brothels may in fact be “safer” to engage in unprotected sex with prostitutes who have been “inspected and approved,” the public is NOT any safer and the prostitutes are actually exposed to MORE risk because of the increased temptation to offer unprotected sex.

    When testing is approached with an eye toward the health of the larger society as well as the individual prostitute, it makes no sense. Testing serves marketing agendas – NOT the public good and certainly not sex worker rights. If you really want ALL of us to be safe from disease then use a condom.

    And finally, what does everyone think happens to those prostitutes who are tested and found to be infected? They are fired from the brothel to be sure. But where do they go? And how does this help to stop the transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases? Oh we never think that far do we? Why would we? The law is only designed to protect the business interests of the brothel owner and the short-term interests of their clients.

  4. Look at all the tweens in amateur porn !

    They don’t care who they fuck

    They fuck unprotected, with anybody they can find, etc

    I remember when that Brazil outbreak came out


    There needs to be a union for both industries

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