On 2nd June, 2008 the Director General of Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC), was widely quoted by international media saying "Gays are one of the drivers of HIV in
We would like to point out:
· 26 years since the epidemic of HIV started there has not been a single government led prevention programme amongst gay Ugandans.
· That from the very beginning of the world wide epidemic it was known that gay men are a vulnerable group.
The statement by the Director General is particularly sad, following statements of other Ugandan leaders that gay people should be marooned on an island to die, and from an advisor to the UAC that “Our previous experience showed us that bringing homosexuals into campaigns against HIV only gives them a chance to propagate their illegal and unnatural acts.”
We are Ugandans. We are gay Ugandans.
We have a right to life.
We have a right to health.
We have a right to be free of HIV.
We have a right to knowledge about HIV prevention and treatment. We have a right to protect our selves, our lovers, our families and our communities.
26 years since the HIV epidemic started, Gay Ugandans believe myths and lies about HIV.
We are gay Ugandans, fellow human beings. We are your brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers, cousins and clans mates.
Please stop discriminating and stigmatizing Gay Ugandans in the fight against HIV. Gay Ugandans need an HIV prevention programme.
The Press release was accompanied by a mini demo. Holding up placards and such like. At the hotel where the International HIV AIDS implementors meeting was held.
We walked into the lions den, to beard him.
3 of our number are missing. Presumed arrested.
Ah, but bwana, gay Ugandans are alive. Gay Ugandans can be healthy because, gay ugandans can access all the knowledge available to all Ugandans (posters, radio, tv, newspaper, etc) about HIV/AIDS. Gay Ugandans can use condoms (freely or otherwise available for sh100 a piece). Can they abstain or be faithful to their partners?
That's upto each one.
Gay people don't need a special government programme, but they can use their ingenuity to form an NGO (like many others have done) to give each other support as they desire. This tin-banging about discrimination can be tiresome, mind.
frankly, I would not ask for the govt help. You guys hate us. And I would rather do the whole thing ourselves.
We dont have the capacity. The govt, and Church and Ssempa have done their best to make sure that we cannot do what you are poking us in the eye to do.
And, we are also Ugandans. And it is not only our problem.
You refuse help, put roadblocks in the way, and then derisively demand why we are whining.
Gug, I will agree with minty to the extent that I'm not sure of the reasons why you seem to insist that gay people in Uganda cannot benefit from the wealth of HIV prevention information that is available in the public domain, and will only do so if there is a special government programme targeted at them. It's like asking for icing on a non-existent cake, when even bread has not been offered.
That said, the aspect that I would wish to point out is that gay men especially, have specific healthcare needs, which one would wish our governments were more sensitive to. In the long run, gay people are ordinary members of the community, and their health is relevant in so far as it does impact on the overall health of the wider community.
what is the public dormain and what does it realy mean in Africa? I am one of 4% of Africans in Africa with access to the internet. Do you think what I know from here is realy knowledge that all gay Ugandans have access to?
A small example. Condoms, which the guy above mentioned, have to be used with lubricant. How many gay Ugandans know that there is a special lubricant for that? how many have access to it? how many can afford it? And what do they use instead of the correct lube?
Also, I dont like to rely on govt. HIV is a history of Gay Activism. Gay people took on the disease when there govt were scared and stigmatizing them. But they did it. Fact is, most HIV activists are gay.
But if the govt will not do it, why do they make sure that we cannot do it?
And, if gay Ugandans do pay their taxes, why do they have to do their own HIV prevention programs?
And, I am informed that the importance of gay men in HIV is so big that it is of national importance to deal with this population.
A major report has just been done on gay awareness and HIV in Uganda? Why do gay Black bloggers nor write about that? Simple. Access is by internet? Why does Gug not get the facts? Simple--access is by private payment to academic body and it is expensive? Key information is not readily available: in this Gug is right. But then, why have activists not accessed the latest data and put that information into the public domain? Generally, the gay African bloggers around have little news to give...too much time is given to writing adolescent sexual trivia or repeating information available elsewhere on the net. Activism means doing something new, giving new perspectives, making a difference. Gug is right in so much of what he says...but he should also be more critical of what those with blogs do with their privileged access. With access comes responsibilty. It amazes me that too many use this access indulgently.
Gug, yes, you make a valid point with regards to the disemination of gay-specific HIV prevention information. However, looking to receive support from a government whose attitude is one of downright intolerance towards the gay community, does not quite strike me as being the right approach.
Something minty said struck a chord with me. I would like to think that self-help should be the way forward, and is more likely to yield results sooner. Of course it cannot be disputed that it is indeed the responsibility of government to take into account all groups, and in particular, those especially vulnerable groups of people, in their HIV prevention programmes. But the record is that government's attitude has been, and continues to be draconian. And since time is of the essence, I might want to suggest a shift in focus from the tin-banging, to a more practical approach where efforts are intensified to provide information of which there is a dearth, to those who require it most.
Oh, I realise that its easy for me to sit behind a desk and make these comments, but really I do commend the efforts of guys like you. Kudos to you.
Look at it this way. Even with all the said roadblocks you have a very active community (SMUG?- nice name btw)and that is capacity enough. If you as GUg have info about that lubricant, why don't you share that info with your pals at one of your meetings?
You do turn around and say you don't want Government's help, so what was this post all about?
I am not Government, so was very amused when you say, 'you guys hate us'. Really, you can do better than accuse me (or is it 'us') of that.
Curious and curiouser,
what is happening here?
are you gay bashers or lovers?
Actually it is all very amusing, the way you are seating in armchairs somewhere and prescribing such nice solutions to all my problems. Sorry Anengiyefa. I know you have acknowledged that limitation, so i am not including you in that.
but well, for Minty...
Leroy, thanks for your observations.
Now actually I have a crisis on my hands which involves a few people who slept in prison, and I need to make sure that they do not do so. Prisons in Uganda are not pleasant.
So I have to go off now and maybe later I will be able to continue this stimulating cerebral armchair conversation.
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