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Every night at dusk, throngs of men from the capital of Lima come to a dusty building that looks like a warehouse in this nearby seaport to visit what may be the biggest brothel in the Western Hemisphere. Inside the building, known as the Trocadero, red fluorescent lights shine on men wandering through halls leading to about cubicles.
Scantily clad prostitutes in high heels pose at many of the doors. Vendors hawk peanuts and cigarettes to clients. Salsa music blares in the background.
But the Trocadero and dozens of smaller legal brothels have seen crowds thin this year as publicity about AIDS intensifies and more Peruvians contract the disease. A handful of prostitutes have tested positive for the virus and some prospective clients are afraid they might become infected.
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But the health campaign at the Trocadero has underscored how widely Peruvians accept prostitution, regardless of the potential for infection. Brothels have been legal in Peru since and, by most s, prostitution is more openly accepted here than anywhere else in Latin America.
City governments and tax at least a score of brothels in the nation, and in the mayor of the prosperous northern oil city of Talara, making good on a campaign promise, opened a municipally owned brothel, The Red Rose. Tradition calls on fathers to take their sons to brothels for their first sexual experience, she said.
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But six of 1, prostitutes checked for the presence of the AIDS virus in their blood earlier this year tested positive, he said. But misinformation about the disease is rampant, fueled by frequent and often lurid s in newspapers that falsely portray AIDS as a disease that can be spread by means other than the sharing of body fluids.
When health inspectors fumigated a prison, public buses and movie theaters earlier this year, newspaper s portrayed the measure as part of a campaign to fight AIDS.
They did the same when health authorities confiscated dirty mattresses from cheap hotels. The fall-off is not apparent to a first time visitor to the Trocadero, which actually is three brothels in a single complex.
Buses and large taxi vans continue to carry crowds of men from Lima to the Trocadero every evening. When Foreit surveyed 33 prostitutes at the Trocadero in September, only two said they had condoms available. Few prostitutes are in a position to demand the use of condoms, said Police Cmdr.
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Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options. CALLAO, Peru — Every night at dusk, throngs of men from the capital of Lima come to a dusty building that looks like a warehouse in this nearby seaport to visit what may be the biggest brothel in the Western Hemisphere.