As long as abstinence is taught as the only means to not get infected with HIV, HIV infection rates will increase. FACT. We live in a sexually aware society, you only have to switch on the TV and be bombarded with sex. But fundamentally we are human beings, and sex is a natural urge, no matter what the moral league say. Not teaching young people about condom use is immoral. Not equipping them with the information on how to protect themselves is fundamentally criminal. Not giving AIDs money to foreign NGOs who don’t just teach abstinence is unspeakably inhumane. People have sex, no matter where in the world they live. People just need to have safer sex.

 

I live and work for an NGO in India. It is sexually repressed society. On paper no one has sex before marriage. IN reality, all classes of people are having “illicit sex” – whether with sex workers, partners, husbands or wives. A large majority have no idea that they are at risk from any STDs. In Maharashtra alone, many schools have banned sex education. Parents don’t believe their children need to know about sex education. People think only poor people can get HIV. Only immoral people get HIV. People think that they are not a risk.

 People don’t get tested, therefore see doctors (who in a large majority of cases haven’t had the relevant training) when they are at Stage 3-4 and are told they will die. Therefore everyone thinks you die when you HIV+. There is no distinction between HIV and AIDS in a large majority of the press. The press continually sounds the death knell for HIV + people. It’s a vicious, uninformed cycle that is made worse by the stigma associated with the condition.  The first hand stories I have heard, the stories of the treatment of infected by their own families, fuelled by ignorance and discrimination, are distressing. This is a very grim picture. There are amazing brilliant shining lights in the fight in India. Stories of hope. But unfortunately the distressing stories outweigh the good. Coupled with endemic corruption and very little public health care, the battle only gets harder