PAHO director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago
Arm of the World Health Organization Takes Stance Against Reparative Therapy

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com May 18 2012 5:30 PM ET

The Pan American Health Organization came out strongly against "ex-gay" programs that attempt to turn gay people straight.

The PAHO is the oldest public health organization in the world, and the group serves as the World Health Organization's representative for North and South America. On Thursday, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, PAHO issued a statement saying that reparative therapy is not only dangerous, but should be banned by the world's governments.

"These practices are unjustifiable and should be denounced and subject to sanctions and penalties under national legislation," PAHO director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago said in the statement. "These supposed conversion therapies constitute a violation of the ethical principles of health care and violate human rights that are protected by international and regional agreements."

The group believes that these dangerous "ex-gay" programs serve no purpose.

"Since homosexuality is not a disorder or a disease, it does not require a cure. There is no medical indication for changing sexual orientation," Periago writes. "Practices known as 'reparative therapy' or 'conversion therapy' represent "a serious threat to the health and well-being — even the lives — of affected people."

PAHO listed specific steps governments can take to battle such programs; read about them here.