November 10, 2016 Book chapters 0 Comments

Sex work and South Africa’s health system: Addressing the needs of the underserved

Scheibe, A., Richter, M. and Vearey, J. (2016) Sex work and South Africa’s health system: Addressing the needs of the underserved South African Health Review 19 165-178. [OPEN ACCESS]. 

Sex  work  remains  illegal  and  highly  stigmatised  in  South  Africa,  resulting  in  sex  workers  –  the  majority  of whom  are  internal  or  cross-border  migrants – experiencing ongoing human rights violations and a high HIV burden. High levels  of  unemployment,  limited  socio-economic  opportunities  and  associated  migration dynamics mean that sex work remains a key livelihood option for many cisgender and transgender women and men in sub-Saharan Africa.

This chapter reviews the health system’s response to sex work in South Africa, with a  focus  on  HIV-related programmes.  The  analysis  is  based  on  the  World  Health Organization’s  health  system  ‘building  blocks’ framework  and  is  informed  by  a policy scan, literature review, consultation with sex work experts, and reflection.

About Jo Vearey

Jo Vearey is a Professor and the Director of the African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand. She holds an Honorary Fellowship with the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, and a Senior Fellowship at the Centre for Peace, Development and Democracy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In 2015, Jo was awarded a Humanities and Social Science Wellcome Trust Investigator Award. Jo holds a MSc in the Control of Infectious Diseases (LSHTM, 2003), a PhD in Public Health (Wits, 2010), and has been rated by the National Research Foundation as a Young Researcher. In 2014 and 2015, Jo received a Friedel Sellschop Award from the University of the Witwatersrand for outstanding young researchers. She was a Marie Curie Research Fellow in 2013, at the UNESCO Chair on Social and Spatial Inclusion of Migrants, University of Venice (SSIM-IUAV), Venice, Italy.

With a commitment to social justice and the development of pro-poor policy responses, Jo’s research explores international, regional, national and local responses to migration, health, and urban vulnerabilities. Her research interests focus on urban health, public health, migration and health, the social determinants of health, HIV, informal settlements and sex work. Jo is particularly interested in knowledge production, dissemination and utilisation including the use of visual and arts-based methodologies.

Jo has a range of international collaborations, including an ESRC-NRF funded project with the University of Edinburgh, a WOTRO funded project with the VU University, Amsterdam on migration and sex work, and partnerships with the University of Massachusetts Boston and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine‘s Faculty of Public Health and Policy and Gender, Violence and Health Unit.

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