Gay men in Asia-Pacific region `denied HIV care`: UN
London: A new report produced jointly by the UN Development Programme and the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health claims 90 percent of gay men in the Asia-Pacific region do not get HIV/Aids help due to discriminatory laws in many states.
Most countries in the region have a law criminalizing gay male sex.
"The effectiveness of the HIV response will depend not just on the sustained scale up of HIV prevention, treatment and care, but on whether the legal and social environment support or hinder programmes for those who are most vulnerable," the BBC quoted UNDP`s Mandeep Dhaliwal said in a statement.
The report pointed out that repressive laws "often take on the force of vigilantism".
It said that several countries including Nepal, India, the Philippines and South Korea had brought in new laws and policies to address the problem.
The report stated: "However, these are exceptional developments and action is required to improve the legal environment in all countries,"
The study found homosexuals and bisexuals to be in the high-risk group, which can potentially account for between 10 and 30 percent of new HIV infections in a typical Asian country.
Nineteen out of 48 countries in the region criminalised male-to-male sex and these laws often led to abuse and human rights violations, it said. The report also drew attention to punishments for sex, between men, ranged from the death penalty in Afghanistan and north-west Pakistan to whipping in Malaysia and Indonesia’s Aceh region.
It added that police enforced public order and prostitution laws selectively against gay men in some countries.
In Sri Lanka and the Philippines, for example, vagrancy laws were used in this way, the report said. Another abuse reported in countries such as Thailand and India was the confiscation of condoms as evidence of illegality.
In China and Singapore, the report found, HIV education materials were censored.
First Published: Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 00:00
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