Indian men don’t play safe in sex

Monday, 16 October 2006 - 11:11am IST | Agency: PTI

Lack of information about safe sex have made most Indian heterosexual males who visit sex workers seeking anal sex.

Kavita Bajeli-Datt


NEW DELHI: Lack of information about safe sex have made most Indian heterosexual males who visit sex workers seeking anal sex believe ignorantly that they would not catch HIV/AIDS. 


This pattern of behaviour among Indian males came out in a nationwide survey conducted by Naz Foundation Internationalis, an Indian NGO based in Britain that specializes in sexual and reproductive health of homosexuals and their partners in South Asia.


The survey was conducted to find out understanding, risks and behaviours prevailing in the country, especially among gays, he said adding that sex education was absent among majority of the people covered in the survey.


"The survey was conducted in 56 cities. We surveyed sex workers, who told us that their client demand anal sex. Most men think that it is a safe way of not contracting HIV/AIDS. But they don't know that it is ten times more dangerous and risky," Arif Jafar, the foundation Executive Director said.


"The issue is not just restricted to homosexual men. Many men, who are heterosexuals, sometimes prefer to have sex with men when they are travelling. But they do not consider sex with other men risky," said Jafar.


"Knowledge of male and female bodies, of reproduction, of the sex organs was almost non-existent. This led to a variety of myths, beliefs and practices, which were accepted as true and helpful," he said.
 "Condom use was determined primarily in terms of access, knowledge, shame, and sickness. With the condom equated with disease prevention, many participants either felt stigmatized through condom usage, or felt that their was no need to use condoms because either they or their sex partners were not sick," he said.
"Sexual health information and services are primarily focused on so-called heterosexual behaviour and ignore the significant levels of anal sex, irrespective of the gender of the sexual partner.


"Formative research is urgently needed to understand how to design appropriate sexual health interventions regarding male to male  sexual behaviour and men having sex with men," he said.


The survey, conducted in Varanasi, Allahabad, Jaunpur, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Agra, Tuticorin, Thirunalveli, Hubli, Bijapur, Bellary, Nalgonda, Kakinada and Hardoi, showed that most men are ignorant about safe practices because the government has not been able to come out with messages and advertisements which give a clear picture.

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