Rates of HIV/AIDS in Indian LGBT Population Could Begin to Decrease

Bengaluru pride. photo credit: Vinayak Das, via Flickr

The head of India’s global health fund said LGBT people will be less at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS after the legalization of gay sex, according to Reuters.

 India has the third largest population of people with HIV at 2.1 million people, according to UNAIDS. The criminalization of gay sex creates a stigma during doctor’s visits, resulting in LGBT people not getting check-ups.

“Criminalisation of communities ... demonstrably increases their vulnerability to diseases like HIV because it creates barriers to accessing health services,” said Peter Sands, head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria told Reuters. “On the other hand, decriminalisation is big step forward, it breaks down those barriers.”

The Global Fund, a group of governments, civil society, and private sector organizations invests around $4 billion a year to fight HIV. This has helped cut the number of people dying from HIV by a third.