Indian Health Minister Calls on Country to Legalize Homosexuality to Improve Fight Against HIV/AIDS
October 1, 2008
Following his recent efforts to legalize homosexuality in India, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said the country should recognize the increasing acceptance of homosexuality worldwide because such tolerance would ensure "an effective fight against AIDS," IANS/Thaindian News reports (IANS/Thaindian News, 9/29).
Ramadoss said that he recognizes the social opposition to his call to decriminalize homosexuality but that it is "a very serious issue from the AIDS-control point of view." According to Ramadoss, the National AIDS Control Programme, which is in its third phase from 2007-2012, is being "adversely impacted because it is difficult to reach out to the gay population of the country." He added that 86% of HIV cases in the country are transmitted sexually, a figure that includes MSM and transgender people.
According to Ramadoss, Section 377 also effectively makes it illegal for a physician to treat MSM, as well as for a health care worker to advise MSM about HIV. Ramadoss said, "Imagine the problem this means when it comes to our fight to contain HIV infection" (IANS/Thaindian News, 9/29).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.