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NPR's 'All Things Considered' Examines How Greater Acceptance Of India's Gay Community Helps HIV Fight

NPR’s “Shots” blog includes an “All Things Considered” story that examines how “a 2009 benchmark ruling in Delhi’s High Court,” which “struck down a 148-year-old law known as Section 377, a holdover from British colonial rule that made homosexual acts illegal,” has led to a wider level of HIV outreach to Mumbai’s gay community. Vivek Anand, CEO of the Humsafar Trust, “which provides free HIV tests and other health services to Mumbai’s gay community,” said the ruling has helped health workers gain a better understanding of HIV prevalence among India’s gay population, the blog notes.

“The government estimates that seven percent of gay and bisexual Indian men have HIV, compared with less than one percent in India as a whole,” the blog writes, adding that “[a] handful of religious leaders and conservative groups are using those figures to argue that homosexuals are fueling a rise of HIV in India” and are “petitioning India’s Supreme Court to overturn the Delhi High Court ruling.” However, the Indian government “now says it supports legalizing homosexuality and abolishing Section 377,” NPR states, noting the country’s “Supreme Court began a six-week-long recess Monday without ruling on the landmark case, which has captivated many in the country” but “could decide the case when it returns to session in July” (Werth, 5/14).

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