Just days after the world presented an united front against HIV during Monday's 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov has linked HIV to the gay rights movement, reports the Interfax news agency.

On December 4, Luzhkov, speaking at a conference in Moscow titled HIV/AIDS in Developed Countries, said that his administration would continue to ban the progress of gay and lesbians rights, citing the notion that greater visibility for the gay community was responsible for an increase in HIV in Moscow.

We have banned, and will ban, the propaganda of sexual minorities' opinions because they can be one of the factors in the spread of HIV infection,” he said.

The mayor went further, declaring that safe sex – the idea that condoms dampen the spread of HIV – has exacerbated the spread of AIDS. “Some companies insist that condoms are a safe guarantee against AIDS, but contemporary science proved that it is not the case.”

Luzhkov's comments come at a time when the world is waiting to see if he will ban a gay pride and march celebration in Moscow for the forth year in a row. This year, gay activists have scheduled gay pride to coincide with the May 16 finale of the Eurovision Song contest to be held in the city.

Moscow gay rights activists have repeatedly clashed with their mayor.

Last June, a small group of protesters led by gay rights leader Nikolai Alexeyev (sometimes spelled Alekseev) held pride flags and banners outside the famed Tchaikovsky music conservatory, in defiance of Luzhkov's ban of the event. They chanted, “No to homophobia,” and “Tchaikovsky was gay.” A second demonstration was held at a building in front of Moscow City Hall where a banner was hung reading “Rights For Gays and Lesbians – homophobia of Mayor Luzhkov to be prosecuted.”

Luzhkov has denied gay activists a parade license since 2006. He has called being gay “satanic,” and declared last year's actions “criminal.”

“Today's statements of Moscow mayor show which level of madness such politicians can take our society to,” Alekseev told gayrussia.ru. “While developed democratic countries recognize the rights of gays and lesbians for more effective fight against HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases, Moscow mayor is trying to take our society to the new epidemic circle in Russia where population is decreasing very fast.”

“The statements of Mr. Luzhkov are based on his own prejudice and stereotypes and in no way reflect recent scientific information,” he said.