Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society has helped fifteen Dhangadi residents gets HIV/AIDS treatment since teaming up with the Elton John AIDS Foundation two months ago. Quite a feat considering Dhangadi rests near Nepal’s rural western border. Despite these promising numbers, a government health official suggested the gay activist group to “find something better to do”.
Defying decades of scientific research, Krishna Bhatta told a shocked BDS outreach worker, “the anus doesn’t have any sexual tissues, that’s why there is no chance of HIV/AIDS transmission”. Bhattha continued, “there [are] no MSM/MSW/TG* in Dhangadi, so I believe this Care and Support program in Dhangadi for MSM/MSW/TG is absolutely unnecessary”. Bhatta’s hardly alone in his infuriating ignorance.
Another NGO employee, Durga Shrestha of BASE, seems to think health initiatives grow gays, “If we allow this program in Dhangadi, this will promote homosexuality, which will pollute the entire society”. Women’s worker Santoshi Sharma echoed Shrestha’s scare tactics, “people will copy the homosexual behavior, so there is no possibility for this program to continue in Dhangadi”.
Apparently Nepalese public officials don’t read the paper and/or have brains.
BDS director Sunil Pant lashed out at the officials’ idiocy, saying their statements indicate a worrisome governmental trend:
This is another devastating blow against MSM/MSW/TG in a week by government departments. Last Saturday, five mÃ©tis (effeminate males) were brutally assaulted by Nepal police for carrying condoms in a Kathmandu park. With such attitudes of Government, public health officials and NGOs, sexual health and HIV prevention and care support treatment interventions for MSM/MSW/TG is impossible.
The government isn’t entirely irrational. They told BDS they’d be willing to hear their financial backers’ arguments for the case, to which Pant coolly replied, “We are not sure where Elton John is available or not to visit Dhangadi for the next DACC meeting.”
So, Elton, want to make a trip to Nepal?
*Men Who Have Sex With Men, Sex Workers and Transgender