Prancing With Prostitutes: Gere in India to Fight Spread of AIDS - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

01/11/07 - Mumbai, India

Prancing With Prostitutes: Gere in India to Fight Spread of AIDS

Richard Gere, left, Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu, second right, and philanthropist Parmeshwar Godrej, right, stand with sex worker community leader Naimoon Khan as at an HIV awareness event.  (AP Photo) Richard Gere, left, Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu, second right, and philanthropist Parmeshwar Godrej, right, stand with sex worker community leader Naimoon Khan as at an HIV awareness event. (AP Photo)

by Krittivas Mukherjee, Reuters

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 programs.

"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 are prostitutes.

Mumbai has an estimated 600,000 prostitutes, but a sizeable number of them are not in brothels which makes implementation of HIV/AIDS intervention programs difficult.

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