Monday, May 26, 2008

Include gays in Aids fight, reports say

From the Monitor Newspaper

News | May 24, 2008

Include gays in Aids fight, reports say

Kakaire Kirunda


A study conducted recently in Kampala and whose findings were published this month in the journal Aids Behaviour says recognition of gay and bisexual men in local HIV prevention programmes and education messages is urgently needed.

The study that was based on 224 gay and bisexual men’s views found that “37 percent had unprotected receptive anal sex in the last six months, 27 percent were paid for sex, 18 percent paid for sex, 11 percent had history of urethral discharge”.

Yet perception that gay and bisexual men are at risk for HIV infection was low, according to the authors.

“Our study demonstrates that gay and bisexual men in Uganda are willing to identify themselves and participate in research and prevention campaigns,” write the authors, further showing that 61 percent and 39 percent reported themselves as gay and bisexuals respectively.

Similarly, the newly released Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), MSM –LGBTI HIV/AIDS Report 2008 calls for the inclusion of gay people in the fight against HIV and Aids.

“Having a programme for HIV prevention is a national priority in Uganda which is held back because most people ‘hate’ homosexuals,” reads the report. “This is [a] real problem where all Ugandans can do something. Isolated interventions by the minority homosexuals are very limited in their impact.

They need the acknowledgement and support of the majority heterosexual Ugandan population and together HIV can be curbed.”

The report is punctuated by testimonies from gay people who have reportedly been mistreated each time they seek sexual health related services.

Uganda has a generalized HIV epidemic, meaning it affects all sections of the community, but most of the prevention, treatment and care programmes for the sick mainly target heterosexuals.

The current national HIV/Aids strategic plan shows no programmes that specifically target men who have sex with fellow men (MSM). Efforts to get a comment from the Uganda Aids Commission, which co-ordinates the HIV/Aids response in the country, were futile.

However, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the chairman of Parliament’s HIV/Aids committee, said although involving MSM in the fight against HIV is essential, it is not something that can be done easily. “Given that anal sex that those people perform is one of the most effective ways of transmitting HIV, there should be cause for concern,” he said.

“Unfortunately, under the current legal framework they can’t be helped as a group. However, they can make use of the available programmes as individuals.”

According to Dr Tumwesigye, until gay activities are decriminalised, it may not be easy even for organisations that are willing to help to involve this minority community in the fight against HIV.

Anti-gay activist Martin Ssempa said Uganda needs to send a clear message to homosexuals that they are engaging in a suicidal and un-natural risk that fuels HIV and other infections such as hepatitis.

“These people are just looking at ways of legitimising their practice, which is illegal and deviant in our society,” said Pastor Ssempa. “Our previous experience showed us that bringing homosexuals into campaigns against HIV only gives them a chance to propagate their illegal and unnatural acts.”

Makerere University School of Public Health Dean David Serwadda said the fight against HIV requires the participation of all in the community.

Again we try to get into HIV Prevention. I love the quote from Ssempa. Truly, absolutely, fantastic! Imagine, we deserve to get HIV because bringing us into an HIV programme only gives us a chance to propagate our illegal and unnatural acts!


spiralx said...

I'd LOVE to know what experience that was, of his!

Reminds of me of a police report joke back in the good ol' bad ol' days of apartheid SA. Sex between the races was criminalised, so whites could be arrested for indulging with their house-maids (or their gardeners...): "Yah, sir, we arrested him for having sex with a black. YAH, we know they did it, we watched them for a good hour or so!"

Carol said...

I totally agree with Dr. Martin Ssempa when he says that homosexuals are engaging in a suicidal and un-natural risk that fuels HIV and other infections such as hepatitis. Indeed the homosexuals are just looking at ways of legitimising their practice, which is illegal and deviant in our society of Africa.

To quote what President Yahya Jammeh(the Gambian president) said on thursday
"Gay men and lesbians must leave the country within 24 hours or face "serious consequences,"

I think this generation seriously needs more presidents like President Yahya Jammeh in our African countries and the other Nations as well.

Men like Dr.Martin Ssempa must also multiply so quickly sothat together we can help our brothers and sister who are bound in the evil act of homosexuality and lesbianism. Its an urgent call...Indeed they need our help though they cant admit it.

Bravo President Yahya Jammeh and Dr. Martin Ssempa, good job done.

gayuganda said...

Hi Carol,

I salute you [bows], for your courage in standing by your sincere opinions.
Poor me, I am gay. For such love as you, my self professed Christian sister shows me, if I ever have real enemies I will be in real shit.

So, Long live the Gambian president, you say, a person who wants me to have my head ‘cut off’. Oh yes, those were the serious consequences you could not bring yourself to write.

And long live, and multiply Dr Martin Ssempa, a man who calls himself an AIDS activist and publicly argues that some people, because they are homosexuals, should go on and have HIV!
I admire you Carol. In the boldness of your assertions. You leave me gasping with awe.

Sincerely, with such sisters and brothers like you, and the love you have for me, who really needs enemies?

gayuganda said...

Hey, Carol,

I forgot to add that your Christian Love and Compassion leaves me gasping in amazement. It is so wonderful, so pure, so refreshing! It is such a wonderful show of the Jesus kind of love!

And you are an Administrator in a telecom company, 26 years of age? Good for you. It shows you are not an ignoramus with unformed opinions, or a child like the teenagers in the Church. I mean Pastor Ssempa's church. How good of you.

I love you! Say hi to Stanislaus for me!!!!!

spiralx said...

@Carol: nothing deviant about homosexuality. Not even illegal (how can being yourself be illegal, except for the likes of Hitler or Pol Pot?).

Jammeh didn't just say "leave the country", he said something about decapitating them. (This, by the way, is the same person who 'invented' a cure for AIDS using local herbs. And we thought the SA Minister of Health was one African crackpot too many!).

Tell me, Carol, why should perfectly capable and productive nationals be forced from their country of birth, tell me? Are you such an intolerant bigot you would endorse pogroms and witch-hunts? If that's the Christianity you support, then I would rather be a Satanist, or a "deviant", a thousand times over. If that's what it takes to truly express God's love in the world, then that's me. It's certainly not you.

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