Fighting for a cause

“We’re standing here in Philadelphia, the, uh, city of brotherly love, the birthplace of freedom, where the, uh, founding fathers authored the Declaration of Independence, and I don’t recall that glorious document saying anything about all straight men are created equal. I believe it says all men are created equal,” said Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) in the Oscar winning movie Philadelphia.

Movies like Philadelphia and closer home, My Brother Nikhil help one believe that a person’s sexual preference is his personal choice and should not be a cause of discrimination. To that extent they are right. But the point remains that homosexuals are among those most prone to diseases like HIV and AIDS. The fact that homosexuality is against the traditions and offends the cultural sensibilities of many people is secondary.
The crux of the issue is that homosexuals are at a very high risk of contracting diseases like AIDS and over the past few decades the number of homosexuals has increased manifold. Thus, if homosexuality were to be seen as a disease it can clearly be said that it has reached epidemic proportions. In 2006, UN AIDS estimated that 34.1-47.1 million people worldwide were living with HIV and about 5.1 million of them in India. It remains uncertain, however, whether India has more infected people than any other country.