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Scripps College

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

India: Health and Human Rights


The present study aims to begin the process of differentiation between the various subpopulations that fall under the agenda of interventions targeted at Males who have Sex with Males (MSM). This separation is accomplished though an investigation of the sociocultural factors and behavioral patterns impacting the vulnerability of MSM and transgender (TG) 5 communities to HIV/AIDS. Specifically, the situation of kothi and hijra populations are compared in order to understand how the differences in their cultural practices and lifestyles create unique sexual health needs. The study was completed in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh under the guidance of Bharosa Trust and MAAN AIDS Foundation. Interviews were conducted with a variety of stakeholders, including kothis, hijras, NGO representatives, and medical professionals, in order to gain multiple perspectives on the condition of MSM and TG populations. It was found that the correspondingly dissimilar life situations of kothis and hijras make them distinctly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and hence denote the demand for separate interventions. The public identity and regulated structure of hijra communities creates social inequities and needs that differ greatly from those of kothis. In order to effectively respond to and mitigate vulnerability to HIV, these unique needs must be addressed by interventions headed by members within the communities themselves.


Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion


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