Hijras and AIDS

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What are Hijras? Are they male or female? Hijras believe that they are neither male nor female (Patel, 2010). Hijras struggle with their social status, some are accepted and some are excluded, it depends on the location (Patel, 2010). Because of the struggle with social status, some Hijras go into sex work, which brings into play HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection’s. According to Abdullah, Hijras are a major source of spreading various STIs (Abdullah, et al., 2012). In 1999, there were somewhere between 2.5 and three million people with HIV or AIDS in India (Patel, 2010). Within that, the Hijras HIV or AIDS prevalence was higher than that of other men who have sex with men (Patel, 2010). This is a global health issue; the spread of HIV or AIDS within Hijras is substantial (Patel, 2010). This paper will argue that because of the Hijras difficulty with social status, they are at a higher risk to get HIV or AIDS and they are at a higher risk to spread it.
Hijras are born male, but identify as female (Patel, 2010). They adopt the dress and mannerisms that women have (Patel, 2010). Hijras are known as the “intersex gender” because they do not identify as male nor female (Patel, 2010). Many Hijras feel that they are incomplete beings, they claim that they have “a women’s soul trapped in a man’s body” (Abdullah, et al., 2012). Some Hijras choose to make their “spiritual connection with the female form physically complete through ritualized castration process called ‘nivan’” (Patel, 2010). Those who keep their male genitalia still discard their masculine sexuality (Patel, 2010). Early twentieth century ethnographers in the Punjab noted that, Hijras described themselves as impotent (Lal, 1999). Many Hijras are Zananapan, which are m...

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