Destigmatizing Sex Work: Building a Bridge Between Positive Sex Work and HIV Prevention

Wednesday, June 10th 2020

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM


Sex workers have been consistently viewed as social pariah in our communities. This perpetuates the social, economic, and health detriments experienced by sex workers. They are often stigmatized, marginalized and criminalized by the societies in which they live. In various ways, these factors contribute to their vulnerability to HIV, especially for those who identify within LGBTQ+ communities. This workshop will aim to de-stigmatize the nature of positive sex work while looking to expand our understanding of how sex work can aptly lend itself to avenues of HIV education and prevention. In addition, it will provide insight into the world of sex work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.


  1. Openly discuss the impact that HIV has on the sex worker population and specifically LGBTQ+ sex workers
  2. Explore the nuances of how social, economic, and health detriments experienced by sex workers leads to increased risk of HIV
  3. Examine the positive impact decriminalizing sex work may have on reducing new HIV infections
  4. Discuss tangible steps to prevent HIV transmission among sex workers
  5. Understand the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on sex workers


Dylan Torrez AAS in Biology

Colours Organization

Dylan L. Torrez, a native of New York City, relocated to Philadelphia in 2015 to pursue an education and career in Public Health. He attended Community College of Philadelphia and graduated in 2018 with an AAS in biology. Dylan serves as a positive influence on the LGBTQ+ community by being able to provide empathetic support to those who need it. He is a transparent person who others feel comfortable around. Dylan has cultivated experience being as a prevention specialist for the last five years and has a future goal of establishing his own non-profit. He has a passion for delegating time to others, advocating for undeserved communities and assisting others to feel comfortable in their sexual identity. Within his role at COLOURS, he helps the community at large with knowing their status and how to navigate care and feel comfortable asking for resources.


Tatyana Woodard

Co-President, Philadelphia Ballroom Alliance

Tatyana Woodard is one of the leaders of this generation of activism moving with intent and purpose.  It was in 2010 when she started her first house, Xistence, that her career in activism took flight within the Philadelphia Ballroom Community. Tatyana joined the Mazzoni Center’s Trans* Wellness Project (TWP) as an outreach worker in 2014 and by the following year she was promoted to a Prevention Specialist on the Prevention Services Department’s Testing and Counseling team. After leaving Mazzoni to pursue other career options Woodard found herself back at the agency in a new capacity.  In 2018, she re-joined as the Community Health Engagement Coordinator for the Mazzoni Center’s OUR Way Program, the only program at the nonprofit organization that is operated by trans people with services especially designated for the Trans community. Tatyana Woodard currently serves as the Co-President of the Philadelphia Ballroom Alliance as well as sitting on The DVLF Board of Directors while also serving on several community advisory boards throughout the city of Philadelphia advocating for marginalized communities who can’t advocate for themselves.


Ja’Nae Darlene Tyler

Public Health Program Administrator – PA Department of Health, Division of HIV-Prevention

Ja’Nae Darlene Tyler is a 32-year-old Trans* Woman of Color. At the tender age of 15 years old, Ja’Nae, lost her mother to what she later found was due to “Complications of HIV”. Determined to turn her tragedy to triumph, Ja’Nae set out to educate herself on HIV. In 2010 Ja’Nae landed her first job in HIV prevention as a HIV test counselor. With a demonstrated commitment to both Health and Trans* equality and equity, Ja’Nae, is now an award-winning HIV Prevention Specialist and Activist, Public Health Champion and Trans* Advocate. Working full-time as a Public Health Program Administrator for the Pennsylvania Department of Health- Division of HIV- Prevention, Ja’Nae currently holds several additional titles including being Board Co-chair for the LGBT Center of Central PA, Board Member for Pennsylvania Youth Congress, Board Member for The Doll House Project, kiki- House/ Ballroom leader and mother, and Former Commissioner on Philadelphia’s commission on LGBT Affairs under Major Jim Kenny.


Brittni Jean Thomas


H.U.S.T.L.E.R.S (Helping Unite Sex Workers Through Love, Education, Resource Exchange, and Safety Planning)

Brittni is a Trans Activist and Founder of H.U.S..T.L.E.R.S.(Helping Unite Sex Workers Through Love, Education, Resource Exchange, and Safety Planning), an online community for people who rely on sex work for survival to exchange resources, safety plan, network, educate, uplift, and support each other.  Brittni is dedicated to HIV prevention, treatment, and education within her community on Chicago’s Southside and is passionate about advocating for those most marginalized. Brittni has recently launched an online series geared toward educating, empowering, and safety planning with those that are currently relying on sex work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Location Details


Spotlight On

Karam Mounzer, MD

Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring.

Learn More about Spotlight On
Dr. Karam Mounzer

Dr. Mario Cruz

Dr. Mario CruzDr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who serves as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He has presented and/or published in the fields of community violence and domestic violence prevention, quality improvement, behavioral health, curriculum development and mentorship. In 2019 he received the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Award for Innovations in Healthcare.

Translate »