sex work

‘Demeaning’ to portray counsellor as HIV-positive sex worker? – court rules

A specialised network of organisations responding to the issues of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in Kenya has come in for some unwelcome publicity. This after it used a photograph of one of its own staff on its website, with a caption that identified her as "an HIV positive sex worker waiting for treatment". The staffer in the photograph was awarded damages by Kenya's HIV/AIDS tribunal, but her employers appealed. They argued that it was not "demeaning" to say someone was a sex worker nor was she defamed when it was said of her that she was HIV positive.

Read the judgment

Though the world is moving towards de-stigmatising HIV/AIDS, it is still not difficult to imagine a court awarding damages to someone who is publicly – but either without their permission or else incorrectly – said to be living with the condition.

It’s surely even more likely to result in damages when someone is, completely wrongly, identified in a caption with her photograph as “an HIV positive sex worker” waiting at a clinic to be attended.

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