Tuesday, March 12 2019
One session of our RESET Diversion Program is dedicated to educating our clients on HIV prevention and management. These classes have shown that many of our clients are well-versed in safer sex procedures such as proper condom use, but an alarming number of them report that they had to learn this information from friends or on the streets. This has left them with only some of the information they need to be healthy. Why aren’t they getting complete information from more reliable sources?
The answers are alarming. First, despite the fact that sex education is still officially part of public school curriculums in most states, skills-based instruction is declining significantly. In the same vein, abstinence-only education has increased. Second, fewer schools are actually teaching any type of sex education; this is especially common in rural communities (Lindberg, Maddow-Zimet, Boonstra).
Many of our clients come from turbulent home lives, and a large number were in foster care. This means that they likely had contact with outside providers such as social workers or case managers, who may have noticed the gap in sex education. Unfortunately, most providers are ill-equipped to provide the information young people need. They may be unsure if their information is accurate, or they may be embarrassed to discuss sex and sexuality with their clients. This is why we created HIV for the Shy.
HIV for the Shy is a workshop that teaches providers how to discuss HIV prevention and general sexual health with their clients. It is designed to make this education fun by lowering inhibitions around using colloquial terms for anatomy and sexual activities, so that the provider can discuss these things in a relatable, non-threatening way. We hope to provide this workshop to case managers across a wide range of agencies. If you would like more information about this program, please contact Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 916-856-2900.
Lindberg LD, Maddow-Zimet I and Boonstra H, Changes in adolescents’ receipt of sex education, 2006–2013, Journal of Adolescent Health, 2016, 58(6):621–627, doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.02.004.
Tuesday, April 03 2018
Many of our most pressing social problems--sexual exploitation, homelessness, poverty, substance abuse--are compounded by their highly stigmatized perception by outsiders. These issues are incredibly charged; our society has a strong tendency to frame them as personal and moral failings, which leads to strongly-held negative assumptions. Stigma is one of the most demoralizing elements of sex work, and it can make transitioning out of the life frustrating and even dangerous. Our clients have recounted numerous stories about how they have been treated when their past or current involvement in sex work has been discovered by friends, loved ones, and employers or coworkers. They have experienced ostracism, abuse, discrimination, and sexual assault or harassment. Regardless of how an individual feels about their past sex work, coping with the fallout of stigma is emotionally taxing, with serious psychological and physical consequences. Click on the title to continue reading.
Friday, August 07 2015
Today, we’ll learn about the second trope in this series: The Happy Hooker. It may seem that this trope is a positive depiction of sex work. The women are highly paid, live a glamorous life in beautiful surroundings, and ply their trade safely, without harassment or threats of violence from johns. They do not contract STDs, are not subjected to social stigma, and enjoy a carefree, independent lifestyle. In media, we see elements of The Happy Hooker in films such as The Girlfriend Experience, American Pimp, and older movies like Belle de Jour, Variety, and of course, The Happy Hooker. Click on title to continue reading.