Asia-Pacific Countries Must Curb AIDS

Asia-Pacific nations must do more to fight HIV or face certain doom, a UN-backed group says.

The Asia-Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health told the world that India, Malaysia and many of their neighbors are not providing the education and resources necessary to curbing the virus. And their inactivity contributes to HIV’s frightening spread:

HIV infection rates in some Asia cities in the men who have sex with men (MSM) community are estimated to be as high as 32 percent, added the group, a coalition of U.N. bodies, governments and non-governmental organisations.

“One of the main reasons is stigma around engaging in MSM behaviour, and also identifying as gay, transgender and so on in Asia,” Edmund Settle, HIV/AIDS Programme Manager for the UNDP in China…”There’s also a legislative reason. In a lot of post-colonial countries such as India and Malaysia, engaging in male-to-male sex is illegal, punishable by long prison sentences. So it’s very difficult to talk openly about male-to-male sex if it’s illegal.”

That’s definitely true. It’s even more difficult to talk about same-sex sex when everyone’s dead.