Unprotected sexual congress among gays is spreading HIV/AIDS in Asia

Unprotected sexual congress among gay and bisexual men is spreading HIV/AIDS in Asia
according to public health experts, urging governments to do more to curb the problem in time.

Discriminatory laws criminalising certain sexual behaviours, such as sodomy, ought to be repealed so these men can more easily obtain information on disease prevention, drugs and treatment; they told an HIV/AIDS seminar this week in Hong Kong.

Dr. Avnish Jolly, for The India Post.

Australia managed to keep its HIV epidemic contained within its gay
and bisexual male communities through public education and knocking
down discriminatory laws.

Massimo Ghidinelli, Regional HIV/AIDS Advisor at the World Health
Organisation shared that unprotected male to male sex is once again
fuelling the spread of HIV infection in the Asia Pacific in a news
conference and the situation is likely to get worse unless we
collectively undertake very urgent action. There is a possibility it
may even go out of control.

HIV prevalence among gay and bisexual men in Bangkok rose to 30.7
percent in 2007 from 17.3 percent in 2003. In Jakarta, it increased to
8.1 percent from 2 percent within the same period. Some countries in
Asia, such as Singapore, Malaysia and those in South Asia still have
in place anti-sodomy laws, which are formidable barriers to people
getting treatment and help, and they frustrate efforts at disease
prevention, experts said.

Shivananda Khan, Naz Foundation International said that a young (gay)
man went to a clinic for treatment and was slapped by a doctor and
scolded for being a bad person. The doctor refused to treat him and he
was thrown out and it is not uncommon, it happens in Pakistan,
Bangladesh, India, Myanmars.

If (sodomy) is criminalised, it is a problem for doctors. What does
the doctor do when someone comes in with an anal problem? He can get
into trouble with the law because he is treating someone breaking the
law. Stevie Clayton of the AIDS Council of New South Wales said that
Laws were all looked at since the 1980s to make sure that they didn’t
contradict or hinder HIV prevention work.

In Thailand, HIV prevalence among gay and bisexual men is 24.6
percent, while that of the general population is 1.55 percent. In
Cambodia, the rates are 7.8 percent versus 1.8 percent, while in
China, it is 3.8 percent versus 0.09 percent, Frits van Griensven at
the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Southeast Asia
Regional Office said.

“Psychotropic drug (use among gay and bisexual men in Asia) plays an
important role here. I am not in favour of repression; the control
needs to come from prevention. People need to know how to do these
things that you can’t prevent in the safest way possible. They need
condoms on hand and not be caught by surprise,” he said at the conference.

Comments are closed.