Indian PM denounces prejudice re: HIV/AIDS

Stigma and discrimination seems to have become the theme of the day, so here’s another relevant article, this time from India eNews.

According to this article, “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday [today] called for more sensitivity towards HIV/AIDS patients as well as homosexuals and commercial sex workers to win the battle against the dreaded disease.”  Here are some quotes from PM Singh’s address:

“The fact that many of the vulnerable social groups, be they sex workers or homosexuals or drug users, face great social prejudice has made the task of identifying AIDS victims and treating them very difficult.”

“If we have to win this fight against HIV/AIDS, we have to create a more tolerant social environment. One need not condone socially unacceptable or medically inadvisable sexual practices in seeking a more tolerant approach to the problem.”

“It is in the interests of the entire society that everyone afflicted by AIDS wins the battle against it. They deserve and have the right to live lives of dignity and self-respect.”

“There is a proposal for a law, which would penalize anyone discriminating against an AIDS infected person from access to employment, property or other services. This should be given serious consideration.”

I think there are some important insights touched on here.  I especially like the second quote.  Moral or other qualms about particular behaviors are far too often used to justify discriminatory and unjust treatment of some groups of people living with HIV/AIDS.  Christians, I’m ashamed to say, have all too often been guilty of this.  But PM Singh is right: no one should be denied or discouraged from seeking quality HIV/AIDS treatment, just as no one who is living with HIV/AIDS should be denied the same access to employment, education, or any of the other rights and privileges held by members of a society.  It’s good to hear that India’s leadership is taking the problem of stigma seriously.

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~ by h.e.g. on June 30, 2008.

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