[Citizen News Service and IRMA are collaborating to amplify rectal microbicide research and advocacy, as well as IRMA-led initiatives, throughout AIDS 2012, and after.]
Despite alarming HIV rates amongst the men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people, many countries, community leaders, media and society at large continue to hold discriminating stereotypes against them. “Punitive laws will drive MSM and transgender populations underground” rightly said Aradhana Johri of Department of AIDS Control, Government of India. In US alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, although Black American MSM people represent only 13 percent of the US population but they account for about 44 percent of the new HIV infections particularly among those aged 13 -19.
Unless we protect the rights of same sex couples to live a life of dignity, and discourage those who are judgemental about their same sex behaviour, not only we will fail to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and same sex behaviour, but also fuel homophobia and negative perceptions about HIV testing. People will continue to choose to hide their high-risk behaviour and not seek counseling and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
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