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Surprising Science

World HIV Cup

Officials are warning that the World Cup in South Africa could be a public health disaster with half the nation’s prostitutes carrying HIV and half a million football fans expected in the region.

“Advocates for sex workers in South Africa have warned that this summer’s World Cup could be a public health disaster. With up to half a million football fans expected to visit South Africa for the World Cup, and up to half of South Africa’s prostitutes carrying the HIV virus, there have been calls for the country to decriminalize prostitution to help tackle the spread of HIV. Eric Harper, director of the Cape Town-based Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), told CNN that the World Cup would inevitably lead to a demand for sex workers. ‘And where there’s demand there will be a supply,’ Harper told CNN. ‘It could be a potential recipe for disaster both for the clients and the sex workers,’ he added. Harper told CNN that while there are no accurate figures for the number of sex workers in South Africa, his organization believes there are 3,000 in Cape Town alone.”


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