NEW DELHI, India, January 13, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Police in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, arrested four men last week on charges of homosexuality and running an online gay club, part of an ongoing effort to enforce laws prohibiting homosexual activity. Homosexual activity is illegal in India, punishable by prison terms of up to 10 years. The Indian government is currently fighting a court effort to legalize gay activity.
UNAID is protesting India’s recent crackdown on homosexual activity in the country, saying it will directly increase the spread of HIV/AIDS by driving homosexual activity underground.
The UN, and other NGO’s, have argued that preventing homosexual men from accessing information on safe sex will increase the HIV/AIDS epidemic in India. India has over five million people infected with the virus, the second highest rate in the world, after South Africa.
However, the UN’s report on HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in South Asia states that the predominant mode of HIV transmission in India is heterosexual. The second highest mode of transmission is via drug injections. Homosexual transmission rates are not mentioned in the report at all.
Research has shown that in countries where homosexual activity is legal, and educational material on “safe-sex” practices easily obtained, HIV/AIDS rates are highest by far among members of the homosexual community. In fact, recent studies in the United States and Canada have shown an alarming increase in infection rates among homosexual men. Rates have been diminishing among heterosexuals and intravenous drug users.
In Washington, in November 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an 8% rise in HIV infection rates among homosexual men during one year alone, from 2003-2004.
In 2004 a report from Toronto showed a dramatic increase of HIV infections among the homosexual community, up 49% since 1998. The author of the report, Dr. Rita Shahin, said the alarming rate of increase in Toronto was present in major cities world wide, and was likely a result of “complacency” towards ‘safe-sex’ practices.
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