Sex Workers, Drug Users Protest Stigma During AIDS Conference

A crimson wall made its way across Washington D.C., Tuesday as more than 1,000 sex workers, drug users and AIDS activists, many of them carrying red umbrellas to fend off the rain.

The protesters marched toward the White House to protest the stigma associated with their activities, a stigma they believe contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Many of the protesters held up signs reading “Fight AIDS! No More Drug War!” and “Stop the Witch Hunt against Sex Workers.”

“Sex work is work” the group chanted, responding to demonstration leaders holding megaphones.

The demonstrators were calling for the decriminalization of drugs and sex work, which they argue would encourage people to practice safer sex.

Quincy McEwen, a sex worker in Guyana, marched in today’s protest for sex workers’ rights.

“It’s our body, our business,” said McEwen. “You can give oral sex for free, but if you collect money for it it’s illegal. That’s wrong.”

“That stigma is allowing the disease to spread,” she said.

– Read the entire article at National Post.