Olympic Construction Workers Influx may Raise Sex Disease Risk in UK

by Hannah Punitha on  March 17, 2008 at 8:37 PM AIDS/HIV News
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Olympic Construction Workers Influx may Raise Sex Disease Risk in UK
Health experts have warned that the influx of scores of construction workers in London for the 2012 Olympics may result in a rise in prostitution, and the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

The experts reckon that a construction workforce of more than 100,000 men would be making preparations for the game over the next four years.

Already 1,000 people are working on preparing the sites, and 2,000 more are scheduled to begin arriving within weeks as work starts on the stadium.

As the Olympics draw near, worry health workers, thousands of prostitutes and trafficked women may arrive in London.

With an eye on addressing the predicted rise in sexually transmitted infections, they have recommended appointing extra staff in sexual health clinics. They have also stressed giving more focus on preventive measures like sex leaflets in various languages and condom distribution.

The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), the HIV and sexual health charity, says that clinicians assessing the impact of the Sydney 2000 Games found a big increase in demand for sexual health services, and a corresponding increase in sexually related diseases.

The trust is calling for an urgent meeting with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games.

"There will be increased sexual activity at the Olympics and in the run-up. There will be migrant workers, mostly men, separated from their families. Many of them will have unprotected sex. They will go out for casual sex or with sex workers. There is a big potential for increase in poor sexual health, including HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea. This an issue where everybody gets embarrassed and they don't want to talk about it," Times Online quoted Lisa Power, policy director for the trust, as saying.

Sara Walker, of the English Collective of Prostitutes, said: "Of course, where men gather with time and money then prostitutes will go there. We are more concerned about the police coming in and targeting prostitutes who are not illegal immigrants."

Grahame Maxwell, spokesman on human-trafficking at the Association of Chief Police Officers, said that the Metropolitan Police were taking all necessary measures to check any increase in trafficking related to the Games.

A spokesman for the ODA said that no plans had been made to address sexual health specifically, although an occupational health centre would be set up for workers.

Source: ANI

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