The World Wide Web site of the National AIDS Control Organisation of India has a message that crawls continuously and prominently across the page, saying "People with HIV infections or AIDS need our care, love and support." This investigation indicates that many persons whose work is prevention of AIDS and those, such as women in prostitution and men who have sex with men, who are at high risk of becoming infected, are far from enjoying the care and support of local authorities in their jurisdictions or adequate support from other agents of the state who might protect them from police abuse.
The government recognizes that education and condom distribution for marginalized high-risk groups is essential front-line work in the fight against HIV/AIDS in India. Outreach workers are appropriately targeting communities that have faced and will continue to face high rates of disease and death due to AIDS. In addition to the catastrophic consequences of HIV/AIDS for women in prostitution and men who have sex with men, it is clear that high rates of transmission in these populations facilitate the rapid spread of the disease beyond traditional high-risk groups. Nonetheless, women in prostitution and men who have sex with men, as well as those who provide life-saving AIDS prevention services to them, are treated in India like second-class citizens or worse. The only winner in this story of abuse and harassment is the HIV/AIDS epidemic which, in the face of these abuses, will continue to kill millions in India.