Criminalizing prostitution and stigmatizing sex workers interfere with HIV prevention, The Economist reports. According to a 2008 independently commissioned U.N. report, the sex trade is the main driver of HIV in Asia, where 350,000 people are infected each year. Preventing the spread of HIV through the sex industry is best accomplished when sex workers have access to condoms and education. Conversely, closing brothels makes it more difficult for sex workers to share prevention information with one another, and law enforcement in some countries treats possession of condoms as evidence of involvement in prostitution, which discourages sex workers from acquiring and using them. The United Nations estimates that only one third of Asia’s sex workers receive education in HIV prevention.

To read the Economist article, click here.