MUMBAI - Hollywood star Richard Gere cheered on
thousands of Indian prostitutes dancing to raunchy Bollywood
songs on Wednesday and urged them to refuse sex without condoms
to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
"No condom, no sex. No condom, no sex. No condom, no sex," Gere
hollered into a microphone as about 10,000 prostitutes gathered
at a dusty Mumbai fairground joined him in chorus.
The actor, dressed in a brown jacket and black trousers,
presented awards to sex workers in recognition of their work on
various HIV/AIDS intervention programmes.
"You're unique. This is amazing, an unbelievable experience,"
said the star of the hit movie "Pretty Woman", also known for his
support to the people of Tibet.
"This is unfathomable. This will not happen in the U.S. or
Europe, or even in Asia."
The United Nations says 5.7 million Indians are living with
HIV/AIDS, the world's largest caseload. Many of those infected
Mumbai has an estimated 600,000 prostitutes, but a sizeable
number of them are not in brothels which makes implementation of
HIV/AIDS intervention programmes difficult.