Throughout her years of sex work and advocacy, author and adult content creator Amberly Rothfield has heard endless sexual healthcare horror stories from her sex worker peers. "Discrimination is so common that it's become something we joke about," she said. "Not that it's funny, but if we don't laugh, we'll cry!"
Within her close-knit circle, some people have been refused service or lectured unnecessarily about safe sex by biased doctors—Rothfield included. "When I told my doctor that I did webcam work, he would constantly order STD tests and lecture me on what different STDs were," she recalled. "I told him I was a solo performer, but that didn't change the way he treated me."
In more extreme cases, healthcare practitioners have called child protection services to split sex workers from their families, for no reason other than prejudice. "I barely know any sex workers who have been honest with their medical staff and haven't been discriminated against as a result," Rothfield continued. "For these reasons, most choose not to tell their doctors."
It's not just sex workers impacted by this kind of discrimination: From drug users and people from