India Insight

India should widen focus to migrants in AIDS fight – U.N.

India has been “fairly successful” in fighting AIDS by targeting key affected populations such as intravenous drug users, transgendered people, sex workers and homosexuals, but its focus must broaden to high-risk mobile communities to keep the disease under control, the United Nations said.

Policies focused on prevention and a huge social mobilisation have allowed India to reduce new infections of HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, by as much as 57 percent in 10 years; and more than 650,000 people living with HIV are receiving antiretroviral therapy, the second-largest number in the world by country, according to UNAIDS.

There are about 2.1 million people living with HIV in India, with an estimated 130,000 new infections per year.

While focus on the “core” communities has helped keep the disease in check, authorities must “follow the epidemic” and target internal migrants and truckers to widen the scope of prevention efforts, two UNAIDS officials said in an interview with India Insight ahead of World AIDS Day, which is observed on Dec. 1.

“Internal migration is a concern in India. You see changes and patterns of the epidemic in association with migration/mobility,” said Oussama Tawil, country coordinator, UNAIDS.

Do we need sex-education in schools?

A parliamentary committee, with a varied political membership, recently recommended that there should be no sex education in schools.

Sex even if done at the proper time, with a proper person, in a proper place, is a topic that makes many Indians uncomfortable.

The committee itself refused a power point presentation on the question “after going through the hard copy because of its explicit contents.  The Committee felt that it was not comfortable with it and could be embarrassing especially to the lady Members and other lady staff present.”

An evil “disease”? Gay activists fight govt. in High Court

On June 29 of this year, hundreds of gays, lesbians and transsexuals danced and sang on the streets of three Indian cities, hoisting the rainbow flag on the country’s first nationally coordinated gay pride day.

gay1.jpgThough they waved slogans such as “gay and loving it”, many still wore masks – afraid to openly campaign against the dreaded Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which has banned “unnatural” sex since colonial times.

So where do the protesters find themselves nearly four months later, as gay activists battle a (divided) government to scrap the law, taking the case to the Delhi High Court?

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