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Against the “Pools of Contagion” Grain

June 29, 2010

I just happened to come across this story earlier today: Swingers, Sex Workers, STIs: Same Data, Different Day

I’m not going to say much about it because I’m rather pressed for time at the moment, but I recommend you check it out. No doubt, most will be surprised, but I think we all know that some of us are much less surprised than others.

Does it surprise you that sex workers had lower rates of STIs than swingers, MSM or the fourth, utterly generic, “heterosexual” category? It might. After all, the dominant narrative about sex workers is that they are fundamentally broken, and probably diseased. This is the story we read in the newspapers, the one we see on TV, the one we encounter in most online discussions, regardless of the stated sexual politics of those having the discussions. This is the story we know because we’re usually told stories about sex work from people who aren’t sex workers (although if you take the time to look, their voices are out there).

The truth is that sex workers as a group are no more homogeneous than any other group, and no more broken than actors in LA or psychiatrists in ERs. And while sex workers are at greater risk for STIs because of their work, it doesn’t always mean they’ve got them, as this particular study points out.

Oh, and I “found” the story because the dear who wrote it was kind, and smart, enough to mention Bound, Not Gagged! (Although I wished he’s actually included the name in the story and not just used the site as a hyperlink on the word “voices”, next to several other sex worker blogs that were also linked via single words. But, hey, I’m certainly not complaining!!!!)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2010 10:02 pm

    You have to bare in mind that this was (I understand) a large sample of persons visiting an STI clinic or clinics. as you know, sex workers might do this for routine check-ups far more than the general public.

    Furthermore, those sex workers who do would be likely to correlate with those insisting on safe sex with clients.

    Having said that, it does not surprise me that STI figures for indoor sex workers in the developed world at least are not worse than the general population as the vast majority see the practicing of safe sex as part of their job.

    Hey, Jessica, I’ve read your ‘about me’ and glanced down your links. I’m very similar except I can’t afford the champagne!

    I’ll add you to my blogroll, maybe visit more often.

  2. June 30, 2010 3:09 pm

    My champagne standards have actually decreased with age for that reason.

    Thanks for your wonderful comments on the article!

  3. July 2, 2010 12:14 pm

    Oh, and I quit smoking. I love cigarettes no less though.

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