New Delhi, Aug 8: Observing that India was witnessing a stabilisation of the HIV epidemic, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday favoured legalising homosexuality and removing discrimination against other vulnerable sections like sex workers in order to contain spread of the dreaded virus.
"India's dedicated focus on HIV prevention is fetching dividends. We are seeing the beginning of the stabilisation of the HIV epidemic in India," Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said addressing experts and delegates at the 17th International Conference on AIDS in Mexico City.
He said the key to overcome the HIV epidemic is to take HIV services to those on the margins of society adding "we can only do that in an enabling environment".
India's targeted HIV intervention approach which relies on strong community participation has resulted in larger numbers of people accessing HIV prevention, treatment and care services, Ramadoss said.
Responding to questions from the delegates, the minister expressed his strong support for the draft legislation on HIV which is currently being whetted by the Law Ministry.
"Structural discrimination against those who are vulnerable to HIV such as sex workers and MSM must be removed if our prevention, care and treatment programmes are to succeed," he said. "Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises men who have sex with men, must go".
India has about 2.5 million HIV infections and many states have started recording a stabilisation of the epidemic.