Scarlet Alliance

  You are not logged in Log in
Welcome 中文 ไทย 한글


Scarlet Alliance recognise that Australia is a colony built upon Aboriginal land, we pay our respect to the elders and custodians of this land, current, past and future, and stand in solidarity with the struggles of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We are a proud member of the Anwernekenhe National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV/AIDS Alliance (ANA).


- "Safety fears for transgender woman in solitary confinement in men's prison" 25 February 2016



On World AIDS Day 2015 and the 20th Anniversary of Decriminalisation in NSW Scarlet Alliance joined our members to celebrate the benefits decriminalisation has delivered to sex workers in NSW. The approach supported by a community of sex workers strongly engaged with the HIV response has delivered exceptional public health outcomes for the generally community.

Decriminalisation was introduced as bipartisan policy to reduce police corruption and to assist in Australia's response to HIV. This has proven to be a great success. Australia showed exceptional leadership by introducing decriminalisation and has come to be understood as world leaders in this regard.

In research showcased by the Lancet special edition on HIV and sex work, decriminalisation was identified as essential to addressing HIV, delivering a 33-46% aversion of HIV within ten years.

Today, on World AIDS Day 2015, we mourn those lives lost to AIDS, stigma, discrimination and criminalisation globally; we celebrate the resilience of sex workers and the contribution made by sex workers to HIV prevention, treatment and care; and we join the call for decriminalisation of sex work as essential to ending HIV.


  • In the 1980’s sex workers in Australia responded quickly to the threat of HIV infection. Condom usage rates rose and thanks to sex workers sharing information, our knowledge of the virus educated clients and the rest of the community. There is no known case in Australia of a sex worker transmitting the virus to a client through sex work. Scarlet Alliance supports the rights of HIV+ sex workers to continue to work, and believe there is no justification for attempting to identify and remove sex workers who are HIV+ from the sex industry. Sex workers continue to play a role in educating clients (and through clients, the broader community) about the need for condom usage and safe sex practices, and as such are an important part in public policy concerning HIV prevention.


  • "ONE STEP FORWARD, MANY STEPS BACK," Kane Matthews, ABC Opinions and SX, September 2008 The prosecution of a HIV positive man in the ACT turns back the clock on many years of work in HIV prevention and management, writes Kane Matthews.
  • "HIV is a virus not a crime" Australian HIV Orgs Respond, 19 September 2008 "Australian HIV Organisations today demand decriminalisation of HIV, including sex work," Janelle Fawkes, CEO of Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Workers Association said. The recent XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico and the 20th Annual Australasian Society for HIV Medicine Conference in Perth have renewed the international focus on effective HIV prevention and the important role of human rights. There is more evidence now than ever regarding HIV transmission, impact and effective prevention programs.
  • Kane Matthews, Scarlet Alliance "The National Needs Assessment of sex workers who live with HIV" 2008 This report reflects our needs and issues. The development of this project occured under the supervision and direction of Scarlet Alliance with the assistance of social researcher Eva Cox, and the NAPWA advisory position. It was developed and executed by and on behalf of the sex workers who live with HIV. We understand our own lives best and how the world sees us. The needs and issues reflected here all come from the people who courageously came forward, identified themselves as HIV positive sex workers, told their stories and shared their views. While views, needs and issues varied between people, there are commonalities between us all. We hope that the stakeholders and policy makers to whom this report is targeted listen to us and take appropriate action to make change, especially where we cannot. A key issue for all HIV positive sex workers is self protection. Protecting ourselves from the hysteria and over-reaction of people who do not know our lives, who do not understand what the situation is like and who only see the disease and the sex work and not the human being. In order for this protection to be maintained, we ask that others advocate for us, and this report is what we are presenting in order for you all to advocate effectively. ISBN 978-0-646-49555-2

Sex workers and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Mardi Gras 2006


Sex Workers Rally Against the Pope, Sydney, 2008

Archived Material

Review of the 4th National Strategy HIV/AIDS Scarlet Alliance Scarlet paints a bleak picture of Government commitment to support sex workers and sex worker organisations, and addresses terms of reference of the review. (4th National Strategy

Different perspectives on the epidemic Sue Metzenrath, AFAO presentation 2002. Sue proposes that sex workers are still denied a place in the debate regarding HIV/AIDS education, and explores the effects this has had on the sex industry.

International HIV/AIDS Education Kit Sex Work Scarlet Alliance, 2000 A positive and glossy report on the positives of HIV/AIDS education in Australia as carried out by sex worker organizations.

Successful HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategies in Australia; The Role of Sex Worker Organisations Penelope Saunders 1999 A brief look at the contribution of sex worker organizations to community based HIV prevention in Australia, the role of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and the ramifications of criminalisation of the industry.

Ho Down sex workers march in May Day in Darwin, 2006

The Constutution of AIDS in Australia: Taking ‘Government at a Distance’ Seriously John Ballard A walk through Australian Government response to HIV/AIDS with minor reference to sex work. Provides an overview of policy and some of the motivations behind funding of HIV/AIDS Education programs, and argues the success of ‘Government at a distance’ policies. Written in 1999.

International HIV/AIDS Policy Information Kit, Background and Critique John Ballard This previously unpublished paper was written for the kit in June 1998, but was since discarded in favour of a less critical view. An easy to read discussion of health policy development in Australia and input into the Third National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

Address to the Melbourne ICAAP Conference 2001 Sharon Burrows; President ACTU; A populist but pro-human rights approach by the trade union leader. At the time she was the president of the International Congress of Free Trade Unions (Asia Pacific Region). She mentions the effect of work on peoples’ susceptibility to HIV infection and poverty, and “it is vital that these women (sex workers) are seen as being engaged in work and therefore have the same rights as other workers to organise and to expect that their right to health and safety at work are respected.”

Handbook for Legislators on HIV/AIDS, Law and Human Rights UNAIDS Interparliamentary Union. A beaurocratic but none the less powerful internationalist approach to domestic laws. “Criminal law in the area of prostitution impedes the provision of HIV/AIDS prevention and care by driving people engaged in the industry underground. Such laws should be reviewed with the aim to decriminalise sex work…” (Pg 56)

Updated March 2016