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Dutch experts reveal arduous task in battle against AIDS

(Xinhua)

14:38, December 02, 2011

AMSTERDAM, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Despite the promising figures from the latest report by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), there is still a long way to go, said Dutch experts.

The number of AIDS-caused death fell from a peak of 2.2 million in the mid-2000 to 1.8 million in 2010, according to the report, but in vulnerable groups such as refugees, immigrants, sex workers and men who have sex with men (MSM) , there is still a high risk to get HIV infected.

Anna, who declined to give her full name, is a counselor for male and female sex workers for the communal health care (GGD) in a southern province of the Netherlands.

She and her colleagues visit legal and illegal escort houses on a weekly basis in order to build up trust with the workers and to talk to them about the dangers of their sexual behavior. The job is an extremely difficult one with many constraints.

First of all, there is language barrier. Most male sex workers are from Eastern Europe and Brazil and speak poor English.

"When I communicate with them I try to use Google Translate on my smartphone, through a translator or I use nonverbal communication," Anna said.

Once the first contact is made, Anna would begin to teach them the dangers of STD and HIV as well as other daily problems for these sex workers, many of whom are illegal.

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