Ghulam Nabi Azad, Health Minister of India, has today rebuked suggestions that he said homosexuality was a disease. Azad claims he was misquoted by media after reports emerged suggesting that he had said being gay was a disease.
Among Azad’s minced words were statements in Hindu about “men who have sex with men” and the word “unnatural”.
Azad has tried to clear up his blunders by claiming he was referring to HIV as a disease, not homosexuality.
The topic of HIV in Azad’s speech came about as he addressed the issue of free trade negotiations that could prevent India from producing affordable generic drugs.
If India ceases production of the generic form of HIV treatments, commentators have suggested that prices would be driven up drastically, and that this could lead to millions of patients dying due to the lack of affordable anti-retroviral drugs.
A recent report from Reuters indicates that over 86 percent of patients being treated for HIV worldwide receive their prescriptions from India; revealing the importance of the issue.
The video of Azad’s speech had created uproar in India, especially from gay activists who claimed they are badly mistreated based on their sexuality in the country.
Sexual acts between same-sex people were legalized in India two years ago.