Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Tanzania cancels HIV/AIDS prevention support for at risk groups

Tanzania recently suspended community-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs for gay men, due to reports that stated that NGOs were promoting the normalization of same-sex relationships as part of their HIV/AIDS prevention programs. The prime minister for health, Ummy Mwalimu, stated that support for other HIV/AIDS prevention groups would remain, such as those who provide education to adolescent girls and drug users, among others. 

A member of the Community Health Education Services and Advocacy NGO stated, “his is essentially denial of services to people who are at the highest risk of contracting HIV, there's going to be a lot of implications.” These implications could include a rise in the incidence of MSM with HIV/AIDS, further stigmatization of LGBT rights and homosexual relationships. 

Gay sex is illegal in Tanzania and punishable for up to 30 years of prison. In September, the government had threatened the promotion of LGBT rights, and thus came about cancelling the HIV/AIDS promotion program for MSM. At the moment there are 1.4 million people living with HIV in Tanzania, which is about 5% of the country’s population. HIV prevalence among gay men is higher with about 1 in 4 being seropositive.  

Gianna Nino-Tapias (’18) 


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