Homosexuality a disease that is fast spreading: Health minister

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today described homosexuality as a "disease" and regretted that despite being "unnatural", it now afflicts a substantial number of people in India.

"The disease of 'Men having Sex with Men' (MSM), which was found more in the developed world, has now unfortunately come to our country and there is a substantial number of such people in India," Azad said, speaking at a convention on HIV/AIDS at Vigyan Bhawan here.

"Even though it (homosexuality) is unnatural, it exists in our country and is now fast spreading, making it tough for its detection," he said.

"With relationships changing, men are having sex with men now. Though it is easy to find women sex workers and educate them on sex, it is a challenge to find MSMs," said the minister.

Azad also called for making sex education more open to help control AIDS. "We are lagging behind in sex education as compared to the west and not talking about sex has fuelled the epidemic," he said.

He also called for increased efforts to promote sex education, especially among high risk groups, besides promoting condoms, treating sexually transmitted diseases and launching information and communication programmes among transgenders and sex workers to help control the "disease".

The AIDS convention, organised by a forum of parliamentarians, was also attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, some union ministers and chief ministers, as well as MPs, MLAs, zila parishad chairpersons and mayors.

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