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In this video episode of Let Women Talk, HIV community advocate Sarah Feagan speaks with Kali Kanivale — Policy Officer at Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, who presented at the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference held in Perth on 17-19 September. She spoke about advocating for human rights and the decriminalisation of sex work, which would have a great effect on the course of HIV epidemic across all settings by averting HIV infections.

  • Download the interview transcript [PDF]

About the presentation

With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. These social, legal, and economic injustices contribute to their high risk of acquiring HIV. Often driven underground by fear, sex workers encounter or face the direct risk of violence and abuse daily. Sex workers remain underserved by the global HIV response.

The Lancet Series set out key markers for potential progress in human rights and HIV response, suggesting that effects on violence, safety of work environments, and sexual risks after the decriminalisation of sex work had the potential to avert 33–46% of HIV infections in sex work over the next decade.

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Find out about Let Women Talk

Let Women Talk is a NAPWHA community-led health literacy initiative where HIV community advocates incorporate their rich perspectives and diverse lived HIV experiences back into strengthening community health responses — where women design and develop the health content and interventions that they want to see and hear. The initiative is one of many activities forming part of the HIV Health Literacy Framework Project, a NAPWHA project supported through the funding of ViiV Healthcare Australia.

Hear other video episodes

In this series, Sarah Feagan reports back from the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference aiming to translate research back into community practice.

Who’s in this interview?

Kali Kanivale is the Policy Officer at Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, a peak organisation that works towards sex worker rights (legal, health, industrial, civil) and uses health promotion approaches to achieve this. Scarlet Alliance promotes best practices including peer education, community development, community engagement and advocacy.

Sarah Feagan is a queer women who has been living with HIV since 2008. She is the previous chair of Positive Women Victoria and has recently joined the team at Living Positive Victoria as a Peer Navigator. She also the Vice President of NAPWHA. Sarah is a co-facilitator of Phoenix for Women and the Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDi). Sarah has unique approach to her advocacy and is inspired by the lived experience of the body positive to inform her practice. Sarah’s advocacy spans the from the grass roots all the way up to high level governance. She has a global outlook with a local focus to bringing the community along with her.

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