ADDED ON: 02/08/2019

India takes ‘big step’ in AIDS fight with gay sex ruling – Global Fund chief

02/07/2019 | Thomson Reuters Foundation News

No longer shamed as criminals, millions of LGBT+ people in India will be less at risk from HIV/AIDS following the legalisation of gay sex, the head of a global health fund said on Thursday. Many gay and transgender people say they encounter discrimination and stigma during health check ups, leading some to avoid doctors’ visits altogether, in the largely conservative society where homosexuality has long been taboo. India has the world’s third largest population living with HIV – 2.1 million people – and prevalence rates among gay men – at 2.7 percent – are 10 times that of the total adult population, according to the United Nations agency UNAIDS. “Criminalisation of communities … demonstrably increases their vulnerability to diseases like HIV because it creates barriers to accessing health services,” said Peter Sands, head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

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