Why health care?
Health is always an important issue relating to prostitution, and the health risks that prostitution brings with it should not be underestimated.
- Not all women working in prostitution are well informed about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Very often they do not even know about either HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.
- Moreover, they are often not aware of the medical facilities they can visit in the event of an infection.
- We are aware of the fact that a number of female prostitutes are under a lot of pressure to pay off so-called debts. This often results in them having to work for long periods without earning any money. The little they do eventually earn is spent on clothing, rent and other basic needs. In such situations, therefore, health care is not a high priority.
Nonetheless, there are possibilities to gain access to relatively inexpensive health care services. The various options available to you are outlined below:
Local health authorities
In the case of an STD, local health authorities offer free health care. For an HIV/AIDS test, a nominal fee of 10 euros is requested. Local health authorities are available in almost every city. You can simply contact German directory enquiries or run an online search to find the local health authority in your city.
Some counselling centres offer street teams of staff who are out and about in your area. They distribute information that may be of importance to you. These teams regularly visit brothels, clubs and red light districts.
- You can trust street team staff. Their experience and training allow them to approach the subject of health care in a sensitive manner.
- Street team staff will always make clear that they are working for a counselling centre and handing out information in that capacity.
- The tools that street team staff have at their disposal include: samples of condoms to show the range of quality that exists, photographs and a small dictionary in order to help communication between you and your clients. It is hoped that these will be of assistance to you.
- To enable you to actively seek help yourselves, street team staff often distribute cards with emergency numbers for local counselling centres. The centres offer advice on multiple health care issues.
- In the case of an emergency, street team staff can put you directly in contact with your local counselling centre if you so wish. The staff there can offer you greater help on a more official basis.
Above and beyond this, street team staff will accompany you to doctors who are familiar with your situation. These doctors are experienced in this area and will be sensitive to your needs. Please ask street team staff or a counselling centre to find out whether this service is available in your area.