Male sex work in Romania

Male sex work in Romania

Article 200, paragraph 5 of the Penal Code prohibits any act of 'inciting or encouraging a person to the practice of same sex sexual relations, as well as propaganda, association or other act of proselytising with the same scope' by up to 5 years imprisonment.


Gay relationships are still incriminated and will be prosecuted, if this relationship will be brought into public exposure (Public scandal). However the term 'public scandal' is not defined very clear. As soon as gays are reported to the police, they will be prosecuted.
A Gay or lesbian NGO cannot be legally registered. In order to get the official approval to register 'ACCEPT', a human right group of gays, lesbians and their supporters, has registered as a general human right organisation avoiding to explicitly mention 'sexual minorities' or homosexuality in their registration papers.

The provision of article 200 violates the right of freedom for associations and the freedom of expression as guaranteed by international documents signed and/or ratified by Romania. They are contrary to the International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights published by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, which urge governments to provide effective measures for the protection of high risk groups, including men who have sex with men.

Prostitution, both male and female, are strictly forbidden by law. There don't exist brothels or clubs. Therefore prostitution is organised in a very hidden way.
There is no age of consent for having sex, but the law forbids having sex with an underaged against his/her will.

The general attitude towards homosexuality is a negative one. Homosexuality is neither tolerated, nor accepted, within the Romanian society. Gay people are not open about their sexuality because of this attitude.
Because of the incrimination and the intolerance towards homosexuality there was no chance for the development of a gay-movement in Romania.
Male sex work
Male sex work is a very hidden activity. It's organized on a small level on the streets and in some brothels. On a larger level; it's organized in clubs and bars. There is also a network specialized in paedophilia in which street children (especially boys) are recruited.

Men who have sex with men avoid showing or disclosing their sexual orientation in public. Consequently and in addition to the psychological and social problems, their access to information and preventive measures, voluntary testing and counselling is reduced.
Male sex work is an existing phenomenon, organized in a hidden way, which makes it difficult to contact the boys working in prostitution. The lack of knowledge concerning HIV and other STDs and the taboo on male sex work and homosexuality, increases the risks of an infection. Condoms are not very popular.
Services for male sex workers
ARAS can offer some general services to male sex workers:

  • counseling in case of positive HIV-tests
  • medical referrals
  • legal advice
  • material help

HIV- tests can be done for free and anonymously by different organizations. There is no special department for male or female prostitutes.
Vaccination for Hepatitis B can be bought for 800.000 lei (about 25 US Dollar) in drugstores. There are no special programs for risk groups.

The National Health Service is accessible for everybody. The former Health system in Romania ensured everybody of an insurance. Since the middle of 1998 a new health-system is introduced. This means, that everybody has to be insured (comparable to the western health system).

Condoms can be bought on several places, like supermarkets and drugstores. Condoms for anal intercourse and lubricants are very difficult to get and are not distributed by ARAS.