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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”


Rapes fuel Bangladesh AIDS crisis U.K. SUMMARY: Police officers and crime lords who sexually
abuse gay men and sex workers are stoking an emerging AIDS (news -
web sites) epidemic in Bangladesh, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report

Police officers and crime lords who sexually abuse gay men and sex
workers are stoking an emerging AIDS epidemic in Bangladesh, a Human
Rights Watch (HRW) report warned on Tuesday.

Additionally, the officers often attack AIDS outreach workers, in a
direct blow to the people attempting to contain the virus.

"Bangladesh is brutalizing exactly the people it most needs as allies
if it is to avoid a severe AIDS epidemic," Human Rights Watch
researcher Vivek Maru said.


"Violence against at-risk people traumatizes them and drives them out
of reach of HIV (news - web sites) prevention services, which can
increase their risk of infection."

The report gives case studies of people who have complained about the
police brutality toward gay men.

One victim, Mohammed H, 17, said he has been arrested and raped many
times for no reason other than being gay.

"About three months ago," he said, " I was arrested by police and
taken to a police camp and then from there, to a sugar cane field."

"Four people raped me. I thought I could not continue and feared that
a fifth person would rape me, so I ran away. I was completely naked.
I had to go to my house by way of the outside of town."

"I was most recently raped by police three or four days ago."

It is thought that Bangladesh is now teetering on the edge of a full-
blown AIDS epidemic, with numbers of infections rapidly growing.

In one region, prevalence among drug users jumped from 1.7 percent in
2001 to 4 percent in 2002, while widespread infections in the
country's neighbor India suggest that Bangladesh could find itself in
a similar situation in the coming years, HRW said.

The agency is now lobbying the country's government, calling for a
reform of its police force.


"The reforms that can stop the attacks on people vulnerable to AIDS
and help stave off an epidemic are the same reforms the country needs
to resolve its crisis of law and order," Maru said.