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‘J-K Govt backed gay sex before it was de-criminalised’

Jammu and Kashmir has already been promoting the safe sex among the homosexuals even before the Delhi HC legalised it.

Written by Ishfaq Naseem | Jammu |
July 6, 2009 1:39:02 pm

Country may have been debating homosexuality,but the Muslim majority state of Jammu and Kashmir has already been promoting the safe sex among the homosexuals. Even before the Delhi high court pronounced its judgement decriminalising

homosexuality,the Jammu and Kashmir State Aids Prevention and Control Society (SAPCS) has been quietly counselling the homosexuals that they should use contraceptives before going for the sex and has been distributing condoms free of cost among them.

Project Director SAPCS,MA Wani,said,“We counsel the homosexuals and

even eunuchs through their peer groups,by identifying the people among them who can counsel them against unsafe sex. Our main thrust is to promote the use of condoms among the homosexuals and our second priority in the AIDS programme is to safeguard them against the sexually transmitted diseases”.

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“Those cases in which the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are controlled minimise their AIDS risk by 90 per cent. So we make the homosexuals to go for the testing of STDs and to take measures to prevent them,” added Wani.

He said that homosexuality was prevalent in both Jammu as well as Srinagar and they have identified nearly 300 homosexuals who are being offered the safe sex education. “The homosexuals are from different family backgrounds,but most of them are from the urban areas,” Wani said.

“But we don’t see it with a criminal angle,we see it medically. Although homosexuality is a crime [sic,our aim is to prevent the spread of AIDS in the state,” added Wani.

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However,police officials do the contrary. “Whenever we receive the case of homosexuality,we treat it as a case of a legal offence and register the case of sodomy. It even can make the people liable for life imprisonment,” said a senior police official.

However Jammu and Kashmir’s Health Minister,Sham Lal Sharma,defended the promotion of safe sex among the homosexuals when it was illegal in the state. “If the homosexuals could have been referred to police,that would have failed the drive of the AIDS prevention and control society. This is even being done in the drug abuse cases where those taking the drugs are being counselled against it. Our idea is to prevent the AIDS and not to go into the legality of the whole issue.”

Project Director of SAPCS,MA Wani,also added that the homosexuals were being given the same education as was to others. “Although AIDS prevalence in the state is less,yet we need to take precautions. In Jammu and Kashmir,we have a total of 1811 HIV positive cases and deaths which have been reported due to AIDS have already reached 95. The peer education and counselling the use of contraceptives to the homosexuals is nothing new. It is already being done for people from other high risk groups.”

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First published on: 06-07-2009 at 01:39:02 pm
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