About 20% of Surveyed Sex Workers Who Use Drugs in Irish Capital Living With HIV, Report Finds

About one-fifth of commercial sex workers surveyed in Dublin, Ireland, are HIV-positive, while 78% of the surveyed group is living with hepatitis C, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs, the Irish Times reports. The report surveyed 35 drug users in the city who are or had been involved in the sex industry. The participants had an average age of 29. The report found that a majority of the sex workers surveyed, or 88%, were receiving methadone treatment but also using other drugs simultaneously.

In addition, the report included surveys of health workers, who said that it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach sex workers as they are becoming less visible in the city due to the increased use of mobile technology, such as the Internet and cellular phones, to contact clients (Gartland, Irish Times, 5/13). The researchers made several recommendations to address issues surrounding sex workers, including that the government should continue funding services for the population, the PA/Google.com reports. Teresa Whitaker, a researcher who worked on the report, said, "A dominant theme to emerge from the field work was that drug-using sex workers are vulnerable people with complex and multiple needs that span health, social and legal issues." She added, "For the most part, participants grew up in communities associated with social and economic marginalization and high levels of unemployment. They move more or less continually through drug and alcohol services, homeless hostels, the judicial system and other social care agencies" (PA/Google.com, 5/12).

Online The report is available online.

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