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Nepal opens HIV
hospice for gay and transgender men

Nepal opens HIV
hospice for gay and transgender men

Nepal hospice is one of the few AIDS programs targeting gay men in the nation.

Funded by the Elton John Foundation and the French organization NGO Sidaction, health care officials in Kathmandu, Nepal, have opened a hospice for HIV-positive gay and transgender men, reports Integrated Regional Information Networks. The hospice, located in a working-class district of the city, is one of the few AIDS programs in Nepal targeting gay men. Homosexuality is considered taboo in the mostly Hindu society.

"People looked down upon me as a transgender person," hospice resident Devya Gurang, who is male-to-female transgender, told the news service. "Life was and continues to be terribly difficult. Nobody will give me a job, and the fact that I am HIV-positive only makes things worse."

Residents of the hospice receive room and board, literacy training, antiretroviral therapy, and weekly visits from a physician. Support groups also are available.

According to the United Nations, there are an estimated 70,000 HIV-positive people living in Nepal. Most of those infected are unaware they carry the virus, say U.N. officials. Most of the nation's HIV cases are occurring in gay and bisexual men, sex workers, and injection-drug users. (The Advocate)

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