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India Plans Hospices for HIV Positive Women

The Indian minister in charge of womens affairs has announced that the federal government is planning to set up hospices for HIV positive women .

Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury said, "We plan to start hospices in villages for those women who are thrown out of their homes due to their HIV positive status. These women will be provided training so that they could be self-reliant."

The hospices would be in villages so that the community takes care of the HIV positive women and their children, she said a couple of days ago in New Delhi, while launching National Women Forum, a women wing of the Indian Network of People Living with HIV, a non-governmental organization.

Chowdhury also called upon women not to be embarassed about keeping condoms handy.

"Men cannot be trusted. A woman should not feel shy about keeping condoms with her. She is equally responsible for her health and she should be prepared for any kind of eventuality. Women is always more vulnerable," she noted.

She also stressed that condoms were not for family planning, but meant as protection against sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.

She also made a forceful plea for sex education in schools and denounced those opposing the idea as hypocrites.

It is moral hypocrisy and just posturing on the part of those who are opposing it," the minister said. "We have a one billion population and we don't want to talk about sex. We have to be vocal on such issues. If we don't, then it will affect the generations to come," she warned.

National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) Director General Sujatha Rao regretted it was disturbing that state governments were banning sex education and hoped for a consensus on the issue.

She also revealed that a task force would be set up to review the educational module her organization had come up with.

"There is no harm about taking a s econd opinion on our module. But we want the message to be loud and clear for the senior secondary students to understand. There should be no shadowboxing about HIV/AIDS," she said.


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