Men having sex with men (MSM) is not only a "disease" but also "unnatural", Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Monday, a comment that is likely to raise the hackles of activists who have struggled to decriminalise homosexuality.
"The disease of MSM is unnatural and not good for India. We are not able to identify where it is happening as it less reported also," Azad said at the national convention of zila parishad chairpersons and mayors on HIV/AIDS.
"It is a challenge because in cases of female sex workers we can identify the community and reach out to them. But in case of MSM, it is becoming difficult," Azad added, while pointing to increased efforts to promote condoms, treat sexually transmitted diseases, and launch information and communication programmes amongst transgenders and sex workers.
The programme, organised by a forum of parliamentarians on HIV and AIDS, was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and a host of union ministers.
The convention saw members of parliament and legislative assemblies, zila parishad chairpersons and representatives from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and UNAIDS.
India has over 2.5 million HIV positive people.