VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN / October 2004
power where the woman in prostitution does not have the physi- cal or economic power to refuse him. Eighty-nine percent of Canadian customers of prostitutes refused condoms in one study (Cunningham & Christensen, 2001). Because customers paid more money for not using condoms, extremely risky sex acts “can always be purchased” (Loff, Overs, & Longo, 2003). In another study, 47% of women in U.S. prostitution stated that men expected sex without a condom, 73% reported that men offered to pay more for sex without a condom, and 45% of women said that men became abusive if they insisted that men use condoms (Ray- mond, Hughes, et al., 2001). “It’s ‘regulation’ to wear a condom at the sauna, but negotiable between parties on the side. Most guys expected blowjobs without a condom” (Raymond et al., 2001, p. 72).
In public health circles it is still assumed that the health conse- quences of prostitution are primarily STD- or HIV-related and that male condom use will solve the overall health problems of prostituted women (Hsu & du Guerny, 2002; Wolffers & van Beelen, 2003). Yet in 2003, the AIDS Epidemiology Group at Otago University reported no association between HIV/AIDS and pros- titution in New Zealand (Coney, 2003). Many now understand that women in prostitution will do everything they can to avoid HIV and other STDs. When not physically prevented from using male condoms and when female condoms are made available, women in prostitution use barrier methods of protection from STD and HIV. Proponents of legalization/decriminalization rarely mention that the woman in prostitution is most often infected by the john, not because she deliberately avoids con- doms, but because he raped her without a condom or because he persuaded or coerced her by paying her much more for sex acts without a condom.
A UN/AIDS and WHO campaign in Thailand began in the late 1980s to ensure 100% condom use. (In prostitution, 100% condom use is an oxymoron.) According to women in prostitution, under this policy they suffered the same social contempt as always but with additional coercive tactics such as being taken to clinics for health checks under police or military escort. The campaign humiliated women by posting their photographs in brothels so that johns could inform pimps which of the women had agreed to