Advocates of the controversial practice of ‘ex-gay’ therapy have claimed that it could have saved gay men from the AIDS epidemic, if more gay men had undergone the therapy.

Proponents of the controversial practice, which has been condemned by many medical bodies as, at the least ineffective, and possibly harmful, have held an ‘ex-gay pride month’, which comes to a head this week.

The ex-gay advocacy group PFOX is lobbying lawmakers, claiming it acts out of a want for “protections” for gay men.

Despite organising events this week which it said it expected to draw thousands, Right Wing Watch reports that less than ten people turned up to one event.

The group suggested that gay men could have been saved from the AIDS epidemic, if they had been told “there was a way out of homosexuality”.

The group said: “Coming out of the closet as ex-gay or an ex-gay supporter will affect others because everyone has a family. But the alternative is worse – to stay in the closet and hide your light under a basket; to refuse to be the salt of this earth to others who are struggling in secret and think they’re the only ones who have this problem; to leave our comfort zone and take up the cross (coming out can be a sacrifice, no doubt about it); to have the courage to speak the truth even though we tremble. No one said it was going to be easy, but the alternative is worse because silence is death.

“How many gay men would still be alive today if someone had told them that there was a way out of homosexuality? AIDS and suicide took them away from us. It is up to each and every one of us to educate ourselves, our families, our politicians, our community, and our churches on the ex-gay issue. The more we talk about it the less shocked they and society will become, and healing will finally take place.”

The group’s leader, Christopher Doyle, explains, “We want federal protection just as gays are given.”

Many health organisations condemn the practice, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organisation.

Those opposed to it have agreed that it can cause serious and long-term harm.