AIDS United supports the SAFE SEX Worker Study Act

Members of Congress reintroduced the SAFE SEX Worker Study Act on March 3, International Sex Workers’ Rights Day. The bill would direct the federal government to conduct a study on the negative health impacts of recent legislation called SESTA/FOSTA on sex workers in our communities. 

AIDS United is proud to support this bill and to support sex workers. 

“Sex workers — far too often overlooked by policy analysis — have long been among the communities most impacted by HIV and are thus critical partners in our collective efforts to end the HIV epidemic in the United States,” said Jesse Milan Jr., president and CEO of AIDS United. 

“The communities experiencing the disproportionate burden of the criminalization and stigma of sex work are, not coincidentally, also among those most impacted by the HIV epidemic: queer and transgender people, communities of color, immigrant communities and people without access to adequate social services and care,” Milan continued. “Research and community input is needed to understand the harmful effects of recent policies on sex workers and consequently on ending the HIV epidemic. The SAFE SEX Worker Study Act is a piece of legislation that will enable such vital research. Congress must pass this bill to advance the health of our community members and to bring us closer to ending the domestic HIV epidemic.”

This new legislation comes after years of activism and at a critical moment wherein sex worker advocates have pushed the federal government to recognize the need for more research, community input, policy analysis and reform with and for sex workers. As a result, sex workers were substantively recognized in the recently updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the first time ever in its more recent iteration. 

Leading sponsors Reps. Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden made history with the reintroduction of the SAFE SEX Worker Study Act — and the support of 70 different organizations from anti-violence, public health, technology, civil and human rights. 

We at AIDS United want to uplift the work done by Reframe Health and Justice and The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center in this space to uplift the needs of sex workers in our national HIV response. It is critical that, as we work to end the HIV epidemic, we partner with organizations that are led by and partner with those most impacted by HIV — and that includes sex workers.