Queer Azaadi 2013, Mumbai pride, India


by Rohan Kanawade

HIV Testing


If you remotely doubt that you are H.I.V. infected, get yourself tested at the following recommended testing Centers.

Getting tested for HIV/AIDS

Mumbai

In case people are interested in getting themselves tested for HIV/AIDS, here’s some information on how:

The basic test can be done at a number of places, and the costs vary. The last time I had one done through my rather expensive GP at Pedder Road it cost 600/-. But its possible to have a reliable test done with proper pre-test counselling (and post test too, of course, in case the result is positve) at no cost.

All one has to do is go to Sion Hospital to Out Patients Depatment #16 (OPD 16 or Skin OPD as its called). Its on the 2nd floor of the New College Building in Sion Hospital, and you can ask to speak to Dr.Maninder Sethia, or to Drs Anand, Santosh or Gautam. The phone number is 4043732.

You can go any day from 9.00-12.00 am and they’ll take the blood sample, and you’ll get the test result 6 days later, though I think they prefer if you come on a Friday or Saturday, when they have full counselling support. I think there’s a pretest counsellor there called Mr.Neil all the time.

Alternately, the sample can be given at the Humsafar centre in Santacruz East, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 5.00-8.00 pm. The doctors from Sion Hospital who will be there at those times will give a full check up for all sexually transmitted diseases, and will take the blood sample for the HIV test. The results will have to be collected from Sion Hospital though since they feel that the post test counselling, if needed, is best done in the hospital.

Please note that in both places the testing is absolutely free, is very thorough, and that your confidentiality will be absolutely respected. If you can’t go to Humsafar, but are still apprehensive of how you’ll be treated at the hospital, you can tell them you have been referred through Humsafar and you will be treated separately, with some formalities waived and given a separate area in which to wait.

There’s no easy way to do testing, or to alleviate the anxieties that come with doing it (no matter how safe you think you’ve been). But it is possible to do it fairly efficiently and with proper counselling available if needed and this is how.

A new voluntary testing facility connected to Humsafar Trust goes on line on December 1st, World AIDS Day this year.

The VTC is at the Cooper Hospital’s blood bank section behind the new OPD.It will be open every day between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. However, the Humsafar Trust’s pre-test and post test counselors and positive person group manager sit in Ward 24 near by for any help needed only on Tuesday and Thursdays.

The Address:
Cooper Hospital Blood Bank
Please ask for Dr. Jayanti Shastri
Behind Cooper Hospital OPD
Juhu Vile-Parle Scheme
Mumbai 400049

This facility of the Humsafar Center for positive persons from the gay and MSM community also counsels the women partners of MSM and an average of eight persons attend the counselor’s sessions each Tuesday and Thursday between 9 a.m.and 1 p.m.

The VTC started after advocacy with the BMC health authorities that MSM did not have any facility in the western suburbs.

The VTC is open to everyone on all days but it is open with a special counselor for MSM only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

New Delhi
In New Delhi, the following 4 Testing facilities are on the referral of Naz Foundation (I) Trust. Since the Naz Foundation has been interacting with these agencies for a while, they’re fairly sensitive to realted HIV and MSM issues. In addition, there are scores of private clinics in delhi but they are quite exorbitant.

  • Safdarjung Hospital
    Model Counseling Center
    Room No. 542
    5th floor
    New OPD Building
    Tel: 6198438, 6165060, 6165032
    Timings: (for making the card): 9 AM to 11 AM
    Charges: Free
    Test result: In 7 days
  • Specialty Ranbaxy Limited
    C/o Indian Spinal Injuries Center
    Sector-C
    Vasant Kunj
    New Delhi- 110070
    Ph: 6137615, 6137573
    Timings: You need to take an appointment on phone
    Cost: General- Rs. 375
    Naz referral- Rs. 300
    Test result: 3 days
  • National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD)
    Shamnath Marg, New Delhi
    Ph: 3934517, 3971060
    Timings: You need to take an appointment on phone
    Cost: Free
    Test result: 7 days
  • Dr. Lal Pathlabs Pvt. Ltd.
    ESKAY HOUSE
    54, Hanuman Road,
    Connaught Place
    New Delhi- 110001
    Ph: 3746426, 3342046, 3342075
    Cost: Rs. 350
    Test Result: Next Day
  • – Vikram

GAY SEX LEGAL, SAYS INDIA GOVERNMENT


NEW DELHI (AP) — The Indian government Tuesday clarified to the Supreme Court that it accepts a recent ruling legalizing gay sex in the country.

A lawyer told the Supreme Court that the government would not challenge a 2009 order by the Delhi High Court striking down a colonial-era law that made gay sex a crime.

The order was appealed by conservative groups and the Supreme Court is now hearing opinions from those groups as well as gay rights activists.

The latest statement comes days after another government lawyer told the court that gay sex was “highly immoral” and should be banned. The government quickly denied that lawyer’s statement, prompting confusion about its stance on the law.

On Tuesday, a Supreme Court justice asked the government’s lawyers to file an affidavit to reconcile the two divergent positions heard in court. Neither lawyer explained Thursday’s confusion.

The 2009 high court order had said that treating consensual gay sex between adults as a crime was a violation of fundamental rights protected by India’s constitution.

Sex between people of the same gender had been illegal in India since the 1860s, when a British colonial law classified it as “against the order of nature.”

Prosecutions were rare, but the law was used frequently to harass people.

Over the last decade, homosexuals have slowly gained a degree of acceptance in some parts of India, especially its big cities. The last two years have also seen large gay pride parades in New Delhi and other big cities, including Mumbai and Kolkata.

Still, being gay remains deeply taboo in most of the country, and many gays and lesbians hide their sexual orientation from friends and relatives.