Dr Jackie Fairley, Starpharma's chief executive told ABC Australia: "Anything that you can do to reduce the number of virus particles by inactivating them with a substance like VivaGel would reduce the overall viral load. The more viral particles you're exposed to, that typically translates into a greater chance of infection". Even these condoms, which have been approved by Australian regulators, are not 'foolproof'.
There is also the problem that people are at risk of others refusing to use condoms - VivaGel coated ones or not. They might not have access to such preventative measures.
This is not protection. This is not prevention. This is harm.
Sex workers of all genders across the globe are at a high risk of infection and it is not easy for many to access care. Infection rates are highest among marginalised communities. Hopefully this will change, encouragingly the Lancet editor-in-chief Richard Horton, and editor Pamela Das wrote: "Why should we condemn and criminalise the exchange of money for sex, especially if the severely adverse conditions we create for such exchange hurt women and men and often fatally so?"
There is only one clear option and that is "Accepting and embracing sex work - supporting those engaged in sex work to protect their health and bodily integrity and autonomy - should be our humane, as well as our pragmatic, approach to the reality of our human lives. And to our common efforts to defeat AIDS."
It is shocking the treatment accorded to sex workers, not from their clients but police. Studies have found sex workers in Canada, India and Kenya reporting that they have to hide their condoms or risk having them confiscated by police. This is not protection. This is not prevention. This is harm. This is why we need to legalise sex work.