Number of Chinese HIV and AIDS Patients Rise by 14 per cent
South China Morning Post, China, 9/30/2018
The number of people living with HIV and AIDS in China has risen by 14 per cent, with most cases transmitted through sex rather than blood transfusions, State media said on September 29, 2018. More than 820,000 people had AIDS or were HIV-positive at the end of June, and more than 40,000 new HIV and AIDS cases were reported in the second quarter alone, with 93.1 per cent having contracted the virus through sex. The number of HIV infections caused by blood transfusions has ‘essentially been reduced to zero’, which is a departure from the past, where HIV infections had rapidly spread in some parts of China due to unsafe blood transfusions. This shows the growing need for awareness around sexual health and safer sex practices in China.
Egyptian Court Sentences Activist to Jail for 'False News' over Sexual Harassment Video
Reuters - Cairo, Egypt, 9/29/2018
An Egyptian court has sentenced an activist to two years in jail over a video she posted on social media criticising the Government for failing to protect women against sexual harassment, her lawyer said. Amal Fathy, a member of the now banned April 6 youth movement which played a role in 2011 protests that forced President Hosni Mubarak from office, was also fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($562). She was charged with spreading ‘false news’ that threatened national security. ‘We have provided all the evidence to prove that she didn’t spread false news,’ said her husband, Mohamed Lotfy, also a human rights activist, talking about how this is a systematic attempt to silence a woman speaking out against gender injustice.
Supreme Court Lifts Ban on Entry of Women of All Ages into Sabrimala Temple
NDTV - New Delhi, India, 9/28/2018
Women of all ages can enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, the Supreme Court ruled on September 28, 2018, ending an age-old ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years. ‘The practice of age restriction on women entry to Sabrimala temple can't be treated as an essential religious practice,’ said the court in a majority four-one judgement. The only judge who dissented on the five-judge constitution bench was Justice Indu Malhotra. Women said to be of menstrual age were previously restricted from entering the temple as its presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is considered to be a celibate. Though the judgement has received backlash from religious groups, it is still a landmark victory for the mobility and rights of women in public spaces.
Adultery Not a Crime, Supreme Court Strikes Down Section 497
India Today - New Delhi, India, 9/27/2018
The Supreme Court on September 27, 2018, unanimously struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, the 158-year-old law that considers adultery to be an offence committed by one man against another, and has been criticised for treating women as ‘possessions’ rather than human beings. The Chief Justice Dipak Misra, along with the other judges on the panel, ruled that the unequal treatment of women invites the wrath of the Constitution, and that any provision like this, which treats women unequally, isn't constitutional. The other judges on the bench were Justice RF Nariman, Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justice Indu Malhotra. Though adultery is no longer a crime, it will still continue to be grounds for divorce.
Blood Not Needed if You're Gay: The Stigma Attached to Mumbai Blood Banks
Business Standard - Mumbai, India, 9/26/2018
Despite a landmark verdict on Section 377 by the Supreme Court, which decriminalised gay sex in the country, the Maharashtra arm of National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) recently issued a newly-updated blood donor screening questionnaire to Mumbai-based blood banks. The new questionnaire will now mandate the blood collectors to ask the male donors about their sexual behaviour and whether they have multiple partners or engaged in the same-sex sexual activity. For the first time after the apex court judgement, a government-body has chalked out a clear ban on homosexual men and women donating blood. Earlier blood bank questionnaires only asked donors whether they have reason to believe that they might have HIV, and did not link it to their sexual orientation.