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UNAIDS hails court’s decision decriminalising homosexuality
Published on 10 Oct. 2009 12:11 AM IST
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The executive director of UNAIDS Michael Sidibe Friday hailed the decision of the Delhi High Court decriminalising homosexuality and sought provision for equal rights to all in spite of sexual orientation. “Delhi High Court judgment is a historic one. We must celebrate. But there is still a long way to go with regards to removing stigma, providing social acceptability and treatment to homosexuals,” Sidibe said during his maiden visit to India. In July this year, the Delhi High Court legalised gay sex among consenting adults. “People should not be discriminated on the basis of their sexual orientation. UNAIDS appreciates the (Delhi High) court’s ruling in India, which will set a standard in the region,” Sidibe told reporters here. “Homosexuals must have access to service, access to justice and UNAIDS advocates all discipline. UNAIDS is in favour of equal rights to all inspite of their sexual orientation. The prejudice, the stigma and the discrimination must stop,” addded Sidibe. Sidibe, who is on his first visit to India, has held a series of meetings with the government in which he emphasized the role of the political leadership in ensuring that the country’s universal access goals to HIV prevention, care and treatment are achieved in India by 2010. There are an estimated 2.4 million people living with HIV in India. For every 100 people living with HIV in India, 61 are men and 39 women; prevalence is also high in the 15-49 age group. The epidemic, like in most of Asia, is concentrated among key populations at higher risk for HIV. According to UNAIDS statistics, currently six states are classified as having a high HIV prevalence - Maharashtra in the west, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the south, and Manipur and Nagaland in the northeast. According to recent data, new pockets of concern are now emerging in north India as well.

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