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MSM & HIV - Impact of Lucknow 4 Case

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Impact of Lucknow 4 Case
Impact of Lucknow 4 Case
3 of those arrested are eventually released from prison after 45 days, but the 4th was held without bail for 7 months.

This incident drew further national and international attention to the issues of gay men and women in India, particularly to Section 377 and to the extent to which this law has been used to unconstitutionally harass those working in the HIV and health fields to do outreach among MSM.

Human Rights Community Reacts
“In your capacity as chairperson of India’s National AIDS Council, these events should bring to mind previous incidents in which Section 377 has been used to harass HIV/AIDS outreach workers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in vital efforts to halt the spread of the epidemic. Section 377 not only violates the basic human right to privacy; used as it clearly is to restrict freedoms of expression and association for marginalized groups–including groups at risk of HIV/AIDS–it is also a continuing threat to public health. This unfortunate incident shows vividly and urgently why it is incumbent on your government to ensure its immediate repeal.”

Statement of Human Rights Watch in a Letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding the Lucknow 4 case.

(Source: Human Rights Watch)

So again…why MSM & HIV?
Gay men
The fight against HIV/AIDS in the MSM community both globally and in India must be understood in this social and historical context…

And NOT hidden under layers of stigma, discrimination, and marginalization!

The Big Picture – MSM and HIV/AIDS Globally
  • The majority of HIV infections around the world are acquired through heterosexual (male-female) sexual contact.
  • However, in some regions, MSM account for a majority of new HIV infections, such as in the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
  • 25% of new HIV infections are estimated to be among MSM in Latin America.
  • 28% of HIV-positive persons in Bangkok, Thailand are believed to be MSM, compared to 22% HIV prevalence in Senegal (West Africa).
  • Global estimates of HIV infections among MSM are difficult to measure because same sex behaviour is highly stigmatised and often pushed underground in many cultures.
(Source: AVERT www.avert.org/msm)

MSM and HIV/AIDS in India
The Statistics
  • 6.4% HIV prevalence among MSM in Delhi (2006). (2008 UNAIDS Report on Global AIDS Epidemic)
  • 25.0% HIV prevalence among MSM in major urban areas as measured through WHO sentinel surveillance (2004)
  • 5.7% prevalence among MSM outside of major urban areas (2004)
(World Health Organization Epidemiological Fact Sheet on HIV and AIDS, 2008)

The Realities of MSM and HIV Risk
MSM are NOT at risk for HIV infection because
  • Homosexuality is immoral
  • All gay men are promiscuous
  • HIV is a curse from God
But MSM are at risk because
  • Anal sex carries the greatest statistical transmission risk
  • Condom use has historically not been normative (no risk of pregnancy)
  • Increased use of drugs/alcohol among MSM
  • Pre-existing stigma and discrimination drives behaviour underground
Is india beginnning to wake up to the needs of msm?
Nationwide gay pride event, on Sunday, 29th June, 2008
Yes! But Slowly…

India held its first ever nationwide gay pride event with celebrations in Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata.

The Fight against Section 377
The Fight against Section 377
Naz Foundation, Lawyer’s Collective and Voices Against 377 continue to advocate against this discriminatory legislation.

At the International AIDS Conference held in Mexico City, Mexico in August 2008, Indian Minister for Health Mr. Anbumani Ramadoss publicly stated his support for the repeal of Section 377.

The Section 377 case will go before the court again on 18 September 2008.

NGOs and Groups working on MSM issues in India Websites/Resources
  1. International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Coalition – www.iglhrc.org
  2. Human Rights Watch – www.hrw.org
  3. AVERT – www.avert.org/msm
  4. 2008 UNAIDS Report on Global AIDS Epidemic - www.unaids.org
  5. World Health Organization Epidemiological Fact Sheet on HIV and AIDS, 2008 - www.who.int/hiv/countries
For more information on HIV in India and Pune, and getting tested visit: www.wakeuppune.org


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