Category Archives: WAS News

Homosexuality is not a disease

The World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) rejects all and any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

India’s Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad allegedly stated that homosexuality “is a disease which has come from other countries” in a press conference on HIV/Aids on Monday in Delhi (4th July – BBC NEWS South Asia 5th July) despite gay sex being decriminalized in the country in 2009.

The World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) asserts that homosexuality is not a disease. Homosexuality was removed from the international classification of diseases in 1973 (DSM) and 1990 (WHO/ICD). Homosexuality has been found to be a stable sexual phenotype in humans in population-based surveys and is observed cross-culturally (see Burri et al 2011).

The Declaration of Sexual Rights in Article 4 proclaims the right to sexual equity. This refers to freedom from all forms of discrimination regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, social class, religion, or physical and emotional disability (WAS, 1999).

The alleged assertion made by a high-ranking governmental officer, that homosexuality is a disease or mental disorder, if correct, endangers the equality and well-being of people expressing sexual diversity and may increase stigma and discrimination and violations of the basic human rights of many people. Discrimination of this nature is well known to further increase the risk of HIV/AIDS in people with diverse sexual expression.

Michel Sidibé (Executive Director of UNAIDS) in response to the Indian Minister stated that “There is no place for stigma and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Consistent with the World Health Organisation (WHO) disease classification, UNAIDS does not regard homosexuality as a disease.”

WAS endorses the recent resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC June 17 2011) on the rights of homosexual and transgendered individuals which calls for an end to sexual discrimination and recognizing the matter as a “priority issue” of the U.N.