[health menu] XI International Conference on AIDS
July 7-12, 1996

Cornman Helen, Hirchsmann A.
Asociacion Guatemalteca para la Prevencion y Control del SIDA,
(AGPCS, Guatemala, Guatemala, Central America)


"La Sala": A Novel Educational Approach For Sex Workers in Guatemala City


Sex workers within the "red light" district of Guatemala City live and/or work in deplorable conditions . The majority of these women have minimal orientation concerning issues such as STD's, HIV/AIDS, self-esteem and are routinely subjected to human rights abuses.


The "La Sala" project consists of an innovative approach focused on offering educational and medical services related to STD/HIV/AIDS to sex workers in a safe and relaxed environment. Beyond education it hopes to raise self-awareness, self-esteem and empower sex workers to reduce their overall risk of STD/HIV infection and emotional and physical abuse.


Currently the project has proven to be quite effective in providing essential services to sex workers in an alternative setting. The outreach services have provided 2,500 condoms each week to approximately 150 sex workers in the "red light" district of Guatemala City. Six, eight session workshops of self-esteem and HIV/STD's were offered to approximately 150 sex workers. The house itself has begun to provided services to various women from the "red light" district.

Lessons Learned

  1. The importance of providing a safe environment where sex workers feel comfortable has been an invaluable lesson. When sex workers feel comfortable they are more likely to participate in program activities.

  2. Providing sex workers basic medical and supportive services within a healthy alternative environment, free of drugs and alcohol, to express feelings and pose concerns is the first step towards providing innovative interventions to reach sex workers.

  3. Sex worker rivalry is diminished in a setting where they can share problems and advice. Once diminished it allows for the initial steps of developing an organizational structure created to fight for their rights.

H. Cornman
lera avenida 11-19 zona 1, 2do nivel
Tel:/Fax: 502-2-516531

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Created: July 16, 1996
Last modified: November 18, 1996

NSWP Network of Sex Work Projects
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