Cameron Cox started as a sex worker in Sydney when gay sex was illegal and now is a key figure in the industry, running the Sex Work Outreach Project.
He credits the quick thinking of Sydney's sex workers with containing the spread of HIV.
"They introduced condoms to the Sydney," he said.
The latest HIV strategy from the federal government acknowledges HIV/AIDs has been almost eliminated in the sex work community which academics credit to decriminalisation of sex work in 1995.
Aside from the physical side of his job, Mr Cox often takes on the role of an unorthodox marriage counsellor.
"Sex workers often spend that last half hour on the end of the bed, looking at photos of kids and wives," he said.
"People think we're home wreckers, but a lot of the time we talk people down from leaving their families and encourage them to go back to their lives."
Like most people, Mr Cox tries not to bring his work home to his current partner of 15 years.
"People think sex work would be the main problem in a relationship, but sex workers are just as good as anyone at getting out of doing the washing up and forgetting to take the bins out," he said.