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Enigmatic India

Enigmatic India


Home to more than 1.1 billion people, thousands of ethnic groups, and every major global religion, India has a jumble of cultures and faiths that makes HIV education and safer sex outreach difficult and sporadic at best and taboo at worst. Already, more than 3 million Indians officially are HIV-positive and millions more are at risk. To help raise awareness of the disease and break strong AIDS-related stigma in the conservative country, the U.S.'based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in conjunction with Anchor Books, has published its first book, AIDS Sutra: Untold Stories From India. The collection of nonfiction pieces by 16 top Indian authors, including Salman Rushdie, both gives a complex and gripping picture of HIV in India and raises money for the nation's fight against the virus. All profits will be donated, according to the found, to an educational fund for children affected by the disease. Helping HIVers in India 'starts with their telling stories,' say Bill and Melinda Gates in their introduction to the book. 'That's why we are so grateful to the distinguished writers who contributed to this anthology. This work shows the human side of this disease, and it lives by the words we saw written on a poster''Open your eyes to HIV/AIDS.' ' Among the stories told in the anthology are those of Mumbai's hijras, or transgender individuals; female sex workers in Andhra Pradesh, the 'rice bowl of India'; devadasis, women 'married' to a temple who are deemed acceptable for transactional sex; and the unlikely love affairs between HIVers who manage to find each other in a country where stigma often forces those with HIV deep into hiding. AIDS Sutra: Untold Stories From India With a Foreword by Nobel Prize'winner Amartya Sen An Anchor Books Trade Paperback Original $12.95 ' 240 pages ' ISBN: 978-0-307-45472-0 Publication date: November 4, 2008

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