HIV-Positive Woman Running for Legislature in India’s Assam State Denied Congress Party Nomination
An HIV-positive woman who heads the Assam Network of Positive People and earlier this month submitted an application to run for an assembly seat in the Indian state of Assam has said that she was denied the Congress Party nomination because of stigma and discrimination, the Times of India reports (Sinha, Times of India, 3/21). Jahnabi Goswami -- who has called for regular HIV testing, especially among engaged couples -- planned to run for state assembly for the Congress Party, which is the ruling party in the state and in the national government. She said Congress Party officials asked her to run to show "there is a need for people like me, who can become future policy makers, especially in issues related to fighting the HIV/AIDS menace in the region." State residents on April 3 and April 10 go to the polls to elect the Legislature (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/7). The Congress Party recently decided to give the nomination to Chitralekha Phukan, the wife of a former member of the Legislative Assembly. According to Goswami, she was denied the nomination because 12 other candidates "joined hands to spread the propaganda that AIDS was an airborne disease and sitting and talking with an AIDS patient would mean transmission." Goswami said that she will take up the matter with Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, who also chairs India's parliamentary AIDS committee (Times of India, 3/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.