Ghulam Nabi Azad, India's health minister, has stirred controversy with comments he made against gay people, the BBC reported.

At a national meeting Monday of regional elected leaders on HIV/AIDS prevention, Azad said that being gay was “unnatural and not good for India.”

“It is a disease which has come from other countries,” he said.

“Even though it is unnatural, it exists in our country and is now spreading, making it tough to detect it,” Azad added.

“With relationships changing, men are having sex with men now. Though it is easy to find women sex workers and educate them on sex, it is a challenge to identify men having sex with men.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

The comments come two years after India's high court decriminalized gay sex.

Anand Grover, United Nations special rapporteur on health, called the comments “regrettable.”

“It's unfortunate, regrettable and totally unacceptable that a minister of his stature … is still insensitive to vulnerable groups such as MSM [men who have sex with men],” Grover told the Hindustan Times.

Gay rights activist Mohnish Kabir Malhotra called on the minister to apologize.

“I think the minister needs to apologize immediately,” the AFP quoted him as saying. “He has insulted the entire homosexual community. Homosexuality is very much a part of nature and it even finds references in religious texts. To call it unnatural is absurd.”