A new report recently released by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law recommends the legalization of prostitution and intravenous drugs in order to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The 150-page report states nations around the world should legalize "adult consensual sex work," distinguishing between sexual trafficking and prostitution and "decriminalize the voluntary use of illegal injection drugs" to fight HIV, according to reports from the Catholic News Service.
The study was funded in part by the governments of Canada, Australia, the United States and Norway. It was also partially funded by the Ford Foundation and George Soros' Open Society Foundations.
The 15-member panel, which initially convened in 2010, has since declared that social stigmas and the illegal nature of drug use suppresses the outreach and treatment programs furthering pushing those individuals away from treatment avenues, perpetuating the problem.
"Reform approaches towards drug use … Rather than punishing people who use drugs but do no harm to others, governments must offer them access to elective HIV and health services, including harm reduction programs and voluntary, evidence-based treatment for drug dependence," the report read.
The report also maintains that by "dividing people into criminals and victims or sinful and innocent, the legal environment can destroy the social, political, and economic solidarity that is necessary to overcome this global epidemic."
Dr. Janice Crouse, director of the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America in Washington, D.C., explained that the idea of legalizing prostitution worldwide has come up before, but often the personal consequences are overlooked.
"They like to legitimize the whole industry that way so that it can be regulated and so that it can be considered a 'legitimate option' for women and give it more respectability. But, the sad fact is in every instance where prostitution has been legalized, illegal prostitution has flourished," Crouse told Catholic News Service.
"They don't want anything to curb anybody's enjoyment of sexual activity without consequences and all of this is an attempt to mainstream behaviors and then deal with the consequences," she added.