No kiss, no mask: prostitutes create rules to work on pandemic

Maria, 43, and Luza Claudia, 49, from São Paulo, have been prostitutes for over two decades and depend on this work to sustain themselves. With the coronavirus pandemic, they and other sex workers have seen the number of clients dwindle—and the money gone. With no other source of income and no social isolation, they had to return to the streets even though they were aware of the high risk of becoming infected. President of the Coisa de Puta + collective, which works for the rights of sex workers, Maria Elias says that, in one year, she lost ten friends from work to covid-19. The solution found by her, Luza and other colleagues to work with less risk of contracting the coronavirus…

To the care kit they carry to prevent STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), with condoms and lubricant gel, they added the mask and started leaving the house with up to five pieces of clothing to change after the programs. In addition, they established rules for sexual intercourse: clients cannot kiss them and they have to have their backs turned during the act. Anyone who refuses to follow protocol is thrown out of the room, they guarantee…

“Health care people are from the front lines in the battle against covid-19. We are from the front lines, from the back and from the side… So we thought about acting only from the back, without the face glued on. hygiene protocol, encouraging colleagues to bathe more often and change clothes and underwear. We turn upside down to guarantee this income”, says Maria, who lives in Belém (PA)….

The new protocol, she says, made her group famous in the region where it operates in Belém (PA), where she and her colleagues came to be called “the girls who work backwards”. Mother of two children and grandmother of two grandchildren, she has seen her monthly income of R$4,000 drop by half since the beginning of the pandemic. Through the Coisa de Puta + Collective, she articulated strategies with other colleagues to be able to work more safely in the pandemic. The biggest difficulty, she said, is to convince customers to follow the protocol. “Before, it was difficult to negotiate condom use, now this difficulty has doubled when trying to make the client wear a mask and not kiss us,” she says. “It’s happened that I didn’t accept…

“Back sex is better than nothing” Luza Claudia has been working with sex for 33 years. That’s how she supports four children and four grandchildren. Before the pandemic, she managed to close the month with two minimum wages (R$ 2,200). Now, to get half that amount, she has also adopted back sex to avoid covid-19. A resident of João Pessoa (PB), she says that she faces the same resistance as her colleagues in Belém (PA) from clients who do not want to wear the mask….

Many colleagues took covid-19 and some were left with the sequel, they are short of breath until today. Then the care was redoubled. If we already showered before and after, and we also forced clients to do the same, now we have increased the quantity. Clients who like to stay longer think so much protocol is bad, but we know that it is necessary”, says Luza. 19 is transmitted by respiratory droplets and that, in a sexual relationship, it is very difficult not to have this exchange. But talking about not having sex, in his assessment, does not reduce the damage….

“While there was only a behavioral prevention strategy such as using condoms, the control of the spread of HIV in the world was very bad. Only when it started to have a biomedical prevention strategy, with drugs and PrEp (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), the impact was huge. In times of covid-19, we have to recommend what we have in hand,” he says. “Try not to kiss, if possible, wearing a mask during intercourse is better than not using it and having sex in positions that do not have close contact with the airways is better. It is not a guarantee that the person will be 100% protected, but we cannot do what we did in the example of HIV, when we thought it would be possible to tell people no…