This Human Rights Watch report focuses on the police practice of using the possession of condoms as evidence to support sex work-related charges in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The report states that many sex workers in these cities have become afraid to carry condoms out of fear of police harassment, which then results in them engaging in unprotected sex. This police practice increases the vulnerability of sex workers to HIV infection. To combat this issue, the report suggests, among other things, issuing a directive to all officers in the relevant four cities emphasizing the importance of condoms for HIV prevention, enacting legislation to prohibit the practice of using condom possession as evidence of prostitution, and having the U.S. Department of Justice investigate police treatment of sex workers in these cities.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy challenges barriers to the rights and health of people affected by HIV through legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks, and resources. We support movement building that amplifies the power of individuals and communities to mobilize for change that is rooted in racial, gender, and economic justice.