Dispel the Virgin Myth in India!! sign now

High Commission of India
India House
Aldwych
London WC2B 4NA
United Kingdom

Dear Sir or Madam,

As postgraduate students of International Criminal Law in the United Kingdom, we feel closely obliged to the promotion and protection of human rights. As such, we are in pursuit of a goal to trigger a positive change against inhumane treatment wherever it exists.

One of our projects concerns the so-called "virgin myth", the belief that an individual infected with the HIV/AIDS virus could be cured by having intercourse with a virgin. We have become aware that this myth is acutely prevalent in your country and we urge your governments action to dispel it.

Our research has yielded that the aforementioned myth is somewhat being addressed in your country, but that the mechanisms thus far have been neither implemented nor enforced uniformly across your country. In India, where the HIV/AIDS infection is very high - estimated to be in excess of 3,000,000 - the myth of the "Virgin Cure" is deeply entrenched. The fact that your country criminalizes sexual activities with children has had little impact on the numbers of children being raped. The nexus between more severe punishment and the dangerous inaccuracy of the virgin myth has not been communicated to your population. While we welcome the efforts already made by India in criminalizing the rape of children, we urge further efforts to dispel the myth so as to increase the deterrent effects of increased punishments.

We have organized this petition to give everyone around the globe who wants this practice to stop, an opportunity to demand of your Government an aggressive public awareness campaign throughout your country so as to educate everyone that sexual intercourse with virgins will only spread HIV/AIDS, not cure it, and that engaging in such a practice is a criminal offence. The campaign should especially target HIV/AIDS-infected males.

We also implore your government to take the following action:
(1) Provide law enforcement authorities in India with appropriate training on womens rights, child rights and HIV/AIDS issues;
(2) Provide health care providers with training on HIV/AIDS so that victims are not stigmatized as having been promiscuous;
(3) Provide judges, lawyers and other judicial officers with training on HIV/AIDS and establish facilities for youth; and
(4) Ensure that young females and women are educated about their rights.

Moreover, the physical and psychological situation of the infected persons has to be addressed. We implore the Indian government to do whatever it can to provide at least basic medical treatment to those who are living with HIV/AIDS to help suppress the symptoms of the disease and thereby improve the mental condition of those infected. It is namely held in this context that the untreated infection seriously impairs the psyche and makes one so desperate for curing that even criminal, unsuitable, and absurd means are pursued.

We implore your government's action on this matter!

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Deanne DeleonBy:
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High Commission of India

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