Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) released guidelines for helping to prevent the spread of HIV in key populations. The group, which also monitors the globe for pandemic outbreaks, says we have to decriminalize sex work and drugs if we want to stop HIV.
HIV can be controlled with medications and safer sex, especially among people in the developed world who can afford treatment. But outside these pockets of privilege, the virus continues to be a health problem of epidemic proportions. Following the principles that many epidemiologists recommend, the WHO seeks to contain the spread of HIV by identifying key populations where it spreads the most quickly. By bringing treatment to these groups, doctors block the main avenues that the virus uses to get into the general human population.