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Sydney: where people play Russian roulette with their health

The city of Sydney’s s-x industry is awash with unsafe s-x practices and no one is doing a thing about it. Nick Tabakoff revealed in today’s Daily Telegraph that 507 prostitutes are providing oral s-x without a condom in defiance of NSW Health and WorkCover guidelines recommending the use of condoms in all commercial s-x engagements and it may lead to an increase in s-xually transmissible infections (STIs).

I undertook the research because I have been concerned for some time that the right message was not being provided to the NSW government about the state of safe s-x practices in the industry. In October last year the taxpayer funded S-x Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) put out a press release stating: “Research by the UNSW’s Kirby Institute found that 99% of commercial s-x encounters in 2010 involved a condom and that STI rates among s-x workers are at a historic low — lower in fact than in comparable groups of s-xually active young women in the general community.”

How on earth can they make a claim that 99% of commercial s-x encounters involved a condom when there are at least 507 prostitutes providing oral s-x without a condom? According to some legal brothel owners the average service provider works between two to four shifts a week and sees three to five clients a shift. On that basis let’s say a s-x worker would see at least 10 clients per week. Factor in the 507 prostitutes that are providing unprotected oral s-x and you have more than 5000 Sydney men each week being potentially exposed to STIs.

Are these punters then going home to their wives and girlfriends and potentially spreading the problem further?

I found the 507 recalcitrant prostitutes advertising on the internet. The advertising is much more explicit on the internet than in a family-friendly newspaper. Just have a look at the website of Australia’s most notorious prostitute Madison Ashton who trades as Christine McQueen/CMQ Escorts (the former mistress of industry baron Richard Pratt) where she leaves no one confused as to what service her and her employees provides to clients. Luscious Leah is another popular prostitute who attracts punters with her explicit advertising.

The results of the research show that two thirds of the prostitutes are Asian while one third is Caucasian. I split them into six groups:

  • Independent private working lady Caucasian: 64 workers in this category
  • Independent private working lady Asian: four workers in this category
  • Escort Agency Caucasian: 45 workers in this category
  • Escort Agency Asian: 57 workers in this category
  • Brothel Caucasian: 60 workers in this category
  • Brothel Asian: 277 workers in this category

While NSW have guidelines for the use of condoms in the s-x industry, Victoria and Queensland have strict legislation to ensure the safety of workers and clients. Victoria has the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 while Queensland has the Prostitution Act 1999. It is against the law for prostitutes and owners of licensed premises to offer unsafe oral s-x. The O’Farrell government need to get with the program and bring NSW into line with the other states to make it safer for prostitutes and their clients.

SWOP also need to be more proactive in seeking out those who are flouting the guidelines and take steps to educate those prostitutes, brothels and escort agencies about the dangers of unsafe s-x. If education doesn’t work then they should consider bringing charges against prostitutes and owners of establishments under the OH&S Act until the government change the law.

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    Posted Wednesday, 11 January 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    This is the kind of hygiene issue that might have led the Australian. Anyone could be affected as a flow on affect without being a customer of prostitutes. Remember those adverts of a million beds?

    But I don’t get this: Are you saying saliva is a risk factor in oral sex? Not sure this will hold up medically, or is it that blood based secretions might be an issue after a vigorous teeth brushing?

    Interesting to see in the English version Vietnam News a full page feature on AIDS this week.

    One hopes that the readers of Crikey are not too squeamish about this topic - Australia led the world in blunt messages to tackle AIDS etc. Is complacency setting in?

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