Social Taboos Fuel HIV/AIDS crisis in Pakistan
A new report reveals the effect that social taboos are having on a growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Pakistan as men are forced underground due to stigmas about homosexuality:
"The report, authored by Syed Ali and colleagues from Aga Khan University, Karachi, said 'in Pakistan, seven times more men are reported to be infected with HIV than women. If unconfirmed reports are to be believed, the prevalence of HIV among homosexual and bisexual Pakistani men is reaching alarming proportions.' ... Under Islamic tenets, sex of any kind, other that between husband and wife is strictly forbidden. Homosexual behaviour can lead to stigmatisation, discrimination and ostracisation from family and friends, and even prosecution. The authors noted 'most Pakistanis tend to believe that HIV transmission through illicit sexual activity cannot be a problem in the Muslim world.'"
Say the report's authors: "One would suppose that the fear of God in itself would be enough to discourage illicit sex among men who have sex with men (MSM)...Unfortunately, the moral approach only serves to drive the behaviour underground."
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