Evaluation of the health rights of sex workers: overview of rights violations
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Institute for Collective Health, Silopi District Health Department, Türkiye
Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, Türkiye
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A838
Background and Objective: The purpose of this research is to evaluate the violations of the right to health of sex workers in Turkey with historical comparison. Methods: The research was designed as a qualitative, phenomenological study and was conducted in Istanbul. A total of 24 people was interviewed including 19 sex workers and 5 physicians. A semi-structured interview form was used in the interviews. The Findings were obtained by conducting a content analysis on the MAXQDA program. Ethics committee approved the research. Results: In this study, the main findings are grouped into 6 themes: violations of the right to health, negative attitudes of health personnel (transphobia/discrimination/indifference/stigmatization), quality of health care, historical change in health care, behaviours developed because of negative experiences, and positive attitudes. Transphobia generally occurs in the form of addressing people with their deadname (assigned/identity name), sarcastic looks, and being admitted to the service according to the assigned gender, while stigmatization occurs in the form of associating sex work with various STIs, especially HIV/AIDS. Violations of rights mostly occur when physicians do not perform examinations in accordance with the Istanbul Protocol during assault examinations. Difficulties encountered in accessing health care lead people to radical methods such as hesitating to receive health care services. Conclusions: The 90s were years when the health rights of sex workers working in Turkey were frequently violated for many reasons. In the intervening years, although the medical literature has developed in a more inclusive way, the perspective of the young physicians who grew up with these developments has changed in a positive way; in particular, it is necessary to ensure that health personnel receive training against discrimination, to regulate the social rights of sex workers, and to contribute to the change of societys perspective with egalitarian and inclusive policies.