While the Universal Declaration for Human Rights (UNDHR) guarantees rights as absolute and universal, the practical realisation and extension of these rights remain arguable in different countries. With regard to UNDHR Article 25, the right to healthcare, the South African Constitution guarantees the right to primary health care for all. This obligation is fulfilled, from a legislative perspective, by the National Health Act.
In the context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, sex workers are a key population on account of both their vulnerability to infection and propensity to spread infection by virtue of the work they engage in. Their unrestricted access to healthcare services is critical in terms of the national response to the pandemic.
Various studies have highlighted how, despite the existence of a progressive Constitution and progressive health legislation, sex workers continue to experience significant challenges in accessing public healthcare services.
This study sought to provide an explanation for the contradictions between legislative provisions and the lived realities of sex workers. A multi-pronged theoretical approach was utilised that included a trans political and queer theoretical approach, complemented by an intersectionality perspective, as an analytical tool to explore the existence of invisible networks that create conditions for discrimination and exclusion.
The study revealed the existence of invisible networks that work to deter sex workers from seeking health care services and other rights-related services, leaving them to employ survival strategies that are mostly unorthodox and harmful. The report concludes with recommendations on factors to consider if the access to health care services is to be fully realised by this important sub-population group.
Mini Dissertation (MPhil (Multidisciplinary Human Rights))--University of Pretoria, 2020.