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The Editorial: HIV and Sexuality

A still from That Lovedance (2000), a film about living with HIV and AIDS in India. Image by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / CC BY 2.0

On World AIDS Day, we published the first issue of this month’s In Plainspeak with the theme HIV and Sexuality. Global funding for research and work around HIV issues has dried out over the past decade or so, with official statistics declaring it a slowing-down affliction; according to reports, it is a “declining trend”, with a 19% drop in new HIV infections between 2005 and 2013.

The mid-month issue features Sankhya Bommana’s Voices article on the pitfalls of how HIV has been tackled in India. Look out for Part 2 of SANGRAM’s Voices article on intersectionality in practice between marginalised groups in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Our Interview this month is with Kiran Deshmukh, President of VAMP Plus, on negotiating HIV in sex work. The interview, in Hindi, has been edited by Dipika Srivastava. We also republish a video interview of Anjali Gopalan from our archives.

The Blog Roll contains curated articles from around the Web: what the mainstream conversation is missing about Charlie Sheen’s coming out as HIV-positive, Alliance India’s note on World AIDS Day this year, two reminiscences: one, of Siddharth Dube recounting how homophobia affected the upper class Delhi man in the 1980s, and two, of a white medical NGO worker’s experiences with HIV in Central Asia; also, Edwin Cameron, a Justice of South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal explains why criminalising HIV is counter-productive.

And an editorial bonus: watch Vivek Diwan talk about the LGBT movement, the law, and its connections with HIV.

In the first issue of the month, Mona Mishra gave us an Issue In Focus overview of the journey India has been through with HIV so far.

Three Voices articles echoed various concerns around HIV in India: Edwina Pereira wrote about HIV-positive children and their sexual rights; human rights activist organisation, SANGRAM, explored intersectionality in practice between various marginalised groups including sex workers, HIV-positive people, MSM (men who have sex with men), and transpeople; and Siddharth Narrain charted out the connections between the LGBT movement and HIV in India.

Kristin Francoeur reviewed the book, Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction and HIV/AIDS in India by Cecilia Van Hollen – a handy guide for activists, researchers, and others involved in working with HIV and AIDS issues in India.

Brushstrokes featured Sunil Gupta’s photographic rendering of everyday lives of children living with HIV, and the Video Page had HIV-positive guys retorting humorously to mean dating app messages.

The TARSHI Corner is an HIV myth-dispelling series of posters we created, and a FAQs page clears the air about the routes of HIV transmission.

The end of a year is time to take stock: please take a few minutes to take this survey on what you think about In Plainspeak. We’d love to hear what you have to say about the eMagazine.

We’re also excited to announce that In Plainspeak is going to get an all-new look in the coming weeks. We’re testing it out at the moment, so don’t be surprised if you suddenly spot some unexplained changes in how the eMagazine looks till then.

And as we pore over the HIV and Sexuality issue, let us remember Dr. Suniti Solomon, whose path-breaking contribution to HIV and AIDS research in India has changed lives.

We begin 2016 with a bang – January’s issue is Humour and Sexuality, and it also most certainly looks like we’re going to be publishing more Hindi content from next month on.

Until then, happy reading!

The TARSHI Team