M A I N   N E W S

Gigolos put women clients to high HIV risk
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

n Between 250 and 400 gigolos operative in tricity
n Most of them are in  the 21-30 age group
n They earn anywhere from Rs 3,000 to Rs 25,000, depending on their age
n Their clients are mostly single women in the 35-55 age group

Chandigarh, January 4
Demanding “money for sex” is no longer limited to female sex workers in this region. For the first time, a study conducted by an NGO has revealed existence of gigolos (male prostitutes) in the region. Even more alarming fact is that their number is increasing fast, but there is no initiative at the national or local level to create awareness among members of this group about the risk of HIV/AIDS or STDs.

A study undertaken by the SHAKSHAM Trust, a body supporting the rights of men who have sex with men (MSM) in collaboration with an NGO, the BNCI-BUTTERFLY Nature Club of India, has indicated that there are anywhere between 250 and 400 gigolos, majority of them in the 21-30 age group, serving women in the tricity alone. An interaction with 50 such gigolos in Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali and Kharar has revealed that most of these men became sex workers due to unemployment or to supplement their income.

The study indicates that those who take services of these gigolos are mostly single women in the 35-55 age group having high income. Since a majority of them are past the age of child-bearing, they do not want to use any family planning methods like condoms, exposing them to a higher risk of HIV/STD transmission.

Dr Amarjit Singh of the Department of Community Medicine at the PGI said, “I am not directly involved with the study, but if its findings are to be believed, it indicates that the problem is there. Earlier, isolated cases were reported at the Department of Dermatology, but this indicates that there is a problem and the presence of gigolos has been established. The National Aids Control Society (NACO) and other agencies must include gigolos in the high-risk category.”

Dr Avinash Jolly, who conducted the survey for the BNCI-BUTTERFLY Nature Club of India in the tricity, said the gigolos interviewed showed some knowledge of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). He said it was found that the gigolos were a very cohesive and well-organised group that followed high code of ethics in dealing with their clients. A majority of them were involved in some occupation that served as a cover.

Some gigolos even claimed that college students were also their clients. These clients want to experiment and learn about sexual techniques prior to marriage. According to Islaamuddin, President SHAKSHAM Trust, the number of such clients is small, but this section is highly aware about HIV/AIDS transmission.

As per the study, gigolos have evolved their own slang with words like Jiggu (a small height man who would have normal sex with women) and Jaanu (a tall man indulging in similar acts). A Jackpot indulges in fetish acts, while Rambo, Raja, Raju gentleman, hero and Saboo have their personal traits and expertise.

Interestingly, most of these gigolos are unmarried. Their educational qualifications range from secondary level to postgraduation. Only 10 out of the 50 gigolos interviewed for the study were born and brought up in the city, while the remaining were migrants, mainly from Punjab and Haryana. Some of them were from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, etc. Gigolos earn anywhere from Rs 3,000 to Rs 25,000, depending upon their age, personality and looks.

Although 92 per cent of the gigolos were aware that HIV could lead to death, they were not willing to give it up.

BNCI director Pinki H Madaan and social activist Ashwani Kumar, who were associated with the study, say gigolos find clients through friends, on railway stations, at cinema halls, parks and even in public transport. Since a majority of them use drug substance or alcohol prior to sex to overcome inhibition, it pushes them further towards high risk of exposure.





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