A program, run by Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society and partially funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, to provide HIV/AIDS prevention and support in a far west region of Nepal has been stymied by the government and NGOs working there.
This is the kind of ignorance they’re facing, according to Blue Diamond Society President Sunil Pant:
“The public health officer Krishna Bhatta claimed that there are no ‘sex tissues’ in the anus and so there’s no chance of HIV/AIDS transmission through anal sex.”
Additionally, the health officials believe that AIDs prevention programs would ‘promote’ homosexuality.
According to the IANS, “Bhatta was supported by at least two NGOs present at the meeting who said a support programme for gays would encourage more homosexual activities and ‘pollute’ society.”
Pant said that up until now, the program had seen some success: “There is an increasing number of gays, transgenders and males with HIV in the far west. Since the outpost started, we have sent more than 15 people living with HIV to Kathmandu for further support, treatment and hospice facility.”
He expressed hope that at some point Elton John (whom the health officials have never heard of) would be able to meet with Nepalese officials in person: “We are not sure where Elton John is available to visit Dhangadi at the next meeting. When state public health officials and NGOs working in the sector of sexual health and HIV prevention display such homophobic attitude, we feel it is impossible to provide effective care and support treatment for the sexual minorities.”
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