I’m trying to get my head — heads, actually, big and little — around this one:
Over the last eight months, Human Rights Watch has interviewed more than 200 current and former sex workers in New York, Los Angeles, Washington and San Francisco. The interviews were part of an investigation into barriers to H.I.V. prevention for sex workers, who, worldwide, are more than 10 times as likely to be infected as the general population. What we found was shocking: While public health departments spend millions of dollars promoting and distributing condoms, police departments are harassing sex workers for carrying them and using them as evidence to support arrests. — NYTimes
“Sex workers” are better known as prostitutes. I think the term derived from the fact that the term “prostitutes” also describes members of Congress, and researchers, sensitive to the self-esteem of people who suck dick and fuck strangers for money, didn’t want to insult them.
Some women said they continued to carry condoms despite the consequences. For others, fear of arrest trumped fears of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Most of those interviewed [said] they were afraid to carry the number of condoms they needed, and some — about 5% — [reported] they had unprotected sex with clients as a result.
Evidently law enforcement agents confiscate condoms to use them as evidence that their owners are in fact committing the crime of selling sex. Their actions suggest they find enforcing anti-prostitution laws more valuable than disease prevention. And as a matter of cost-efficiency, they have a point: if enough hookers and johns contract HIV and die, that will lead to a decrease in the number of incidents of prostitution. Dead-Dead = Win-Win.
So I guess the sensible course of action, certainly from the law enforcement perspective, is to stop condom distribution entirely. The number of HIV-positive persons will skyrocket, but that’s a short-term phenomenon, and will quickly pay for itself. Sex will still be transacted as usual, of course, but between the increase in number of deaths from disease and successful convictions of sex workers, very soon the practice will shrivel like, well, leave that there.
This, my friends, is how you run government like a business.