African Women Voices
Despite the apocalyptic economic crisis that plunged over the country, Greeks can still afford to pay for sex.
But with the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, the government has chosen to keep everyone safer by jailing prostitutes.
On July 25 the English newspaper “i”, published figures saying that in 2011 the number of HIV positive people in Greece raised of 57% compared to the previous year.
At first the government blamed drug addicted migrants. But that excuse didn’t hold. And in search of a scapegoat,
state doctors and police rounded up prostitutes across Athens and forced the women to take HIV tests. When dozens tested positive, retribution was swift and vindictive: police posted their names and photos online, before locking them up on hazy charges of causing bodily harm.
Next thing to happen former clients started ringing up Greek associations to know whether they had been infected, demonstrating they could benefit from a reliable sexual education.
The decision of incarcerating Athens prostitutes not only has a bitterly ironic taste but it’s also tainted with a generous dose of discrimination.
Blaming prostitutes for spreading HIV in the country is not different from saying that because they are “promiscuous” they are the nest where the virus is laying its eggs. Which reechoed an ancient stereotype based on which only homosexuals were having AIDS.
In 2009 out of 8,800 HIV positive Greeks, only 2,700 were women. One of the reasons why men are more afflicted by the virus seems to be a less careful attitude during the intercourse.
Data from the UN AIDS shows that boys under 15 are less likely to use a condom while having sex. And men between 15 and 19 years old are at higher risk to contract the virus.
The Greek government spent almost 100 million euro in 2008 for HIV related fundings. Almost all the money went to care and treatments. Very few was left for prevention.