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Hiss on Him

Ellen Marshall

In James Pinkerton's mini rant about AIDS activists addressing the pandemic as a social issue as well as scientific-medical issue, he misses the obvious - the underlying factors driving the pandemic are social issues: poverty, gender and other gross inequalities, and the inability to address sexual matters forthrightly and honestly to name a few. Though he goes on about the stigma toward sexual workers, he also misses the obvious point - and one that might actually have some positive impact: this is a demand driven profession.

In James Pinkerton's mini rant about AIDS activists addressing the pandemic as a social issue as well as scientific-medical issue, he misses the obvious – the underlying factors driving the pandemic are social issues: poverty, gender and other gross inequalities, and the inability to address sexual matters forthrightly and honestly to name a few. Though he goes on about the stigma toward sexual workers, he also misses the obvious point – and one that might actually have some positive impact: this is a demand driven profession. The basic principle of supply and demand is at play – and the demand is, as it has been through the ages, high. If Pinkerton is going to oppose sex work, he might do better to consider other angles than attacking the women who are most harmed by it. Let's try addressing the source, rather than the symptom – which will help address a whole range of sexual and reproductive health issues, including preventing the spread of HIV.

Editors note: For more on ignorance about sex work, read Missing the Point, and Failing on Human Trafficking.

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Toronto AIDS Conference