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Sex workers in the country want their profession to be decriminalised so that they can access health services without being discriminated against.
Nosipho Vidima co-chaired the South African National Aids Council (Sanac) technical working group for sex work in 2015, which led to the development of the South African National Sex Worker HIV Plan 2016-2019. Vidima is also the human rights and lobbying officer at the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat).
She was speaking at a Critical Thinking Forum hosted by Bhekisisa, the Mail & Guardian and the South African National Aids Council on the decriminalisation of sex work in July 2017.
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The loss of one of SA’s most longstanding HIV activists comes when politics and dwindling resources are pitting stalwarts against each other.
Decriminalising sex work could help avert almost half of all new HIV infections globally among workers and clients in the next 10 years.
Crime stats released in 2015 reported a drop in rape cases, but experts say this is because fewer people are bothering to report rapes to the police.
Bhekisisa means "to scrutinise" in Zulu
In South Africa, Zulu patients who would like to be thoroughly assessed by a doctor, would ask the physician to "bhekisisa" them.