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Gay Website That Provides HIV Information Targeted by Russian Censors


ParniPlus, which offers not only LGBT news but HIV information, is targeted by Russia's censors.

An LGBT news website that offers sorely needed HIV information has incurred the wrath of Russian officials thanks to the nation's "gay propaganda" law, Human Rights Watch reports.

The Russian federal agency that oversees media and online content "took steps to shutter" ParniPlus, which reports on national and global LGBT rights. Most concerning, according to HRW, is that ParniPlus is an important source for HIV information in a country struggling to contain the epidemic. The rate of HIV among gay and bi men has increased dramatically in the last few years, according to Moscow's Federal AIDS Center, which calls HIV and AIDS a "catastrophe" for Russia.

ParniPlus reports on the disease and informs readers how to prevent it.

Should ParniPlus be completely shuttered, it would be the eighth case of outright censorship of LGBT media since Russia passed a federal "gay propaganda" law in 2013. The site was blocked from Russian servers in April.

The "gay propaganda" legislation bans positive information about gay and bisexual people from public discussion in venues accessible to minors. The law has been condemned by the United Nations, the European Court of Human Rights, and the Council of Europe.

Russia, led by strongman Vladimir Putin, is also home to Chechnya, which began rounding up, torturing, and murdering gay men in early 2017.

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Neal Broverman