It was a breakthrough decision but in many countries across the world homosexuality is still illegal and punishable and is impacting the HIV response.
Scott Berry from the AIDS Project Management Group Asia Pacific (APMG) has written a useful article that highlights what Most At Risk Populations advocates can learn from the campaign to repeal Section 377 of the Penal Code in India which made adult homosexual relations punishable with a ten year prison term.
S377 was a remnant of the penal code left over from British imperial rule. It was used to persecute gay people and silence their human rights defenders.
The consequence for HIV and public health was negative. It had made volunteers and outreach workers vulnerable to police harassment and arrest and had been used to extort money from men who had sex with men, forcing them to hide their behaviour and hindering effective HIV prevention.
Shaleen Rakesh who is Alliance India’s Director of Technical Support was interviewed for the article about his experiences of working on the campaign when he was at the Naz Foundation India Trust, who along with India’s Lawyers Collective, who were instrumental in overturning s377.
Alliance India also provided support by conducting awareness training on stigma and discrimination and its impact on the HIV response with various organisations and individuals in India such as medics and enforcement agencies.
The full article is available to read here.