New HIV infections increasing among homosexuals

(AP) -- New HIV infections are increasing among homosexuals, drug users and prostitutes who don't seek help because of laws that criminalize these practices, the head of the U.N. AIDS agency said Monday.

Michel Sidibe, the head of UNAIDS, said "it is unacceptable" that 85 countries still have laws criminalizing same sex relations among adults, including seven that impose the death penalty for homosexual practices.

He called a proposed Ugandan law that would impose the death penalty for some gays "very unfortunate" and expressed hope it will never be approved.

At a time when UNAIDS is scaling up its program and seeking universal access to , Sidibe said he was "very scared" because bad laws are being introduced by countries making it impossible for these at risk groups to have access to services.

"You have also a growing conservatism which is making me very scared," Sidibe added.

"We must insist that the rights of the minorities are upheld. If we don't do that ... I think the epidemic will grow again," he warned. "We cannot accept the tyranny of the majority."

Sidibe told a group of journalists at a luncheon hosted by the United Nations Foundation that in countries from China to Kenya and Malawi, about 33 percent of new infections are in men having sex with men, a significant increase.

By contrast, he said that in the Caribbean where most countries don't have repressive laws, only between 3 and 6 percent of HIV infections are in male homosexuals.

Even in the United States, where laws are not restrictive and the gay community was the first to tackle AIDS, Sidibe said it is "shocking" that more than 50 percent of new HIV infections last year occurred among homosexuals. And he said in the 19-25 age bracket the infection rate was even higher.

"It seems like we have come full circle" in the United States, he said. "After almost no cases a few years ago we are seeing again this new peak among people who are not having access to all the information, the protection that is needed."

In addition to failing to adequately deliver the right messages about AIDS prevention, Sidibe blamed complacency in a new generation that has access to treatment.

He added that this was not just a problem in the U.S. but in Europe and in Africa as well.

Sidibe said drug users are also getting the HIV virus that causes AIDS in high numbers.

"You have 70 percent of new infections occurring in Eastern Europe and Central Asia among drug users, but they are criminalized," he said. "They don't have access to services. They have to hide themselves and go underground."

Of the 16 million people in the world who are injecting drugs, almost 3 million are HIV positive, and among them less than 4 percent have access to treatment and less than 8 percent have access to services, Sidibe said.

"It's the same for men having sex with men," he said.

In Nigeria, where there are 1,000 new HIV infections every day, over 30 percent are in vulnerable groups - drug users, sex workers and homosexuals, he said.

Sidibe called for "a prevention revolution" including a campaign in major cities around the world like the anti-smoking campaigns launched in recent years.

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UNAIDS: Sex main cause for HIV spreading in China

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User comments

Mar 16, 2010
Good riddance, huh. Then let those left contract AIDS heterosexually and we all go. Way to go, Lucky Brandon.

Mar 16, 2010
@marjon: Do you agree or disagree with LuckyBrandon? Instead of tiptoeing around the subject, why don't you just say what you think?

Mar 16, 2010
1) Heterosexual sex also spreads HIV.
2) There are laws that deal with this already, what is your point?
3) Prove it. Funding for HIV/AIDs research is massive and attention is spent on it. Right now the attention focused on Africa is massive, which you would have known if you were even the least bit aware of anything outside of your own little sphere.

Mar 16, 2010
I think that marjon has an excellent point to make,
HIV can and does vary from country and region to country and region that it keeps changing is only one complication.

Now that health care in the states could be changing should prostitution be legal has become an issue. Perhaps those with sexual disorders can now turn themselves in and recieve health care and insurance provided prostitutes. Can you imagine the money that it would save the average consumer like Tiger Woods.

Mar 16, 2010
@marjon: I'm sure they could have used the FEMA death camps to hide away all of the HIV positive people, right? They don't have rights, like you christianists, so it wouldn't matter if they were just conveniently stored away somewhere where you beautiful people wouldn't have to dirty your pretty little minds about them.

You disgust me, troll.

Mar 17, 2010
Thanks for showing everyone the compassionate side of christianists, marjon. Also, thanks for showing how you don't understand what "communicable diseases" means.

Didn't someone tend to the lepers? Must have been some other religion.

Mar 17, 2010
nobody has a use for a pair of queer giraffes after all...
Unless one of those giraffes just happens to be a child of yours.

You're a stellar Human Being, LuckyBrandon. With people like you around, the dream of the Third Reich will never die. Sieg Heil!

Mar 18, 2010
Unnatural things...

So naturally, it follows you'd also "cut off" a child of yours if they had Down's, or were Autistic, or any number of various other congenital conditions.

Such unabashed support of Eugenics, and Social Darwinism. The Führer approves heartily!

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