Local autonomy, national policy and global imperatives: sex work and HIV/AIDS in Cebu City, Philippines

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Abstract:

This paper contributes to cultural critiques of AIDS prevention policies through examining debates about mandatory HIV blood screening for women in Cebu City’s sex industry during 1993. These debates were inspired by the Department of Health’s national policy to eliminate mandatory blood screening on the grounds that it was expensive and ineffectual in slowing the spread of HIV. While the rhetoric of the debate was influenced by the emerging ‘global discourse’ on HIV/AIDS and human rights, the debate itself was always about local perceptions of women in the sex industry and Cebu’s administrative autonomy. This paper highlights how various socio-spatial scales helped to constitute Cebu’s response to mandatory testing, while at the same time reproducing an exclusionary discourse which silenced the voices of women in Cebu’s sex industry.

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8373.00053

Affiliations: Research Centre in Intercommunal Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Western Sydney, PO Box 10, Kingswood, NSW 2747, Australia. l.law@nepean.uws.edu.au

Publication date: December 1, 1998

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