Singapore’s Gay Sex Prohibition Slammed
November 21, 2004
A group that promotes AIDS awareness blasted a Singapore
law that prohibits gay sex, saying it impedes efforts to educate homosexuals
about the dangers of HIV transmission through unsafe sex.
Stuart Koe, head of the Fridae Asian gay and lesbian
network, also rejected recent criticism by Singapore’s minister of state for
health, Balaji Sadasivan, who said the advocacy group Action for AIDS was
“not doing enough” to fight the spread of the disease.
“Since gay sex is illegal, how then can any agency or
organization in Singapore promote safe sex among men ... without being
complicit in abetting illegal activity?” a statement on Fridae’s Web site
Singapore, a country of 4 million people, bans gay sex,
defining it as “an act of gross indecency” punishable by a maximum of two
years in jail. There have been few prosecutions, however.
Koe accused the government of neglecting the threat to
gay men by failing to target them in its AIDS awareness campaign.
“Singapore’s public health service has systematically
ignored and left (gay men) out of all its public health messages,” Koe said.
Health ministry officials said they could not respond
immediately when contacted Sunday.
Officials have said previously that the campaign against
AIDS does not promote condom use to fight the disease out of respect for
Singaporeans who hold conservative views about sex.
AIDS activists in Singapore have urged authorities to
curb what they say is an “alarming” rise in the number of gay men infected
with HIV on the island.
HIV infections among homosexual men in Singapore rose
from 12 cases reported in 2000 to 40 cases in 2003, according to health
ministry statistics. In the first 10 months of 2004, 77 new HIV cases were
reported among homosexual men.
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