Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI) are infections caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. They are transmitted from one person to another by close body contact, usually sexual, or the exchange of body fluids. STI used to be called Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and before that, Venereal Disease (VD) but STI is now the accepted terminology. Blood Borne Viruses (BBV) are infections that are passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood contact, and some can additionally be passed through other bodily fluids, such as vaginal and anal secretions, breast milk, and semen. Anybody who is sexually active is at risk of getting an STI or BBV. This website provides you with: information on symptoms, transmission, treatment and prevention; colour pictures of visible signs to identify; and information specific to sex work such as sex worker skillshare and harm reduction strategies.
In recognition of the diversity of the sex worker community, we have deliberately tried to use language and terminology that is gender-neutral. As sex workers, the tools of our trade – and the parts of our bodies most at risk of STIs and BBVs – are our mouths, our bums, our penises and our vaginas. We hope that by only referring to these body parts, rather than the sex or gender identity of the person who owns them, this resource will be more useful to, and inclusive of, all sex workers. We recognise that not everyone uses the same words for these body parts, but in order to be as clear and accessible as possible we have used these terms where necessary.
This web resource is a community driven project, which has incorporated the efforts of sex workers, peer educators, sex worker organisations, community organisations and health professionals across Australia. It is made by sex workers, for sex workers.
Much of the content builds on The Scarlet Alliance STI Handbook: A Reference Guide for Sex Workers to Sexually Transmissible Infection “Red Book” (2009). Red Book is a sex worker resource by and for sex workers that was first developed in 1998 with updates in 2003 and 2009. Many sex workers would be familiar with the pocket sized Red Book that sex worker organisations have been handing out on outreach to sex worker workplaces for many years. Sex worker resources by and for sex workers is best practice in assisting sex workers in implementing harm reduction strategies in our workplaces. The STI and BBV information provided has been checked by medical professionals and all content has gone through various consultation processes with sex workers to ensure the content in Red Book is accurate, relevant and reflects our diverse experiences, identities, contexts and needs.