Homosexuals in Tanzania excluded from HIV prevention efforts

Published: February 9, 2015

Medical Xpress
Siv Haugan
Original Article:  bit.ly/1ETwJNq

Homosexuality has been illegal in Tanzania since colonial times. This legislation is still in force, and during the first 30 years of the HIV epidemic homosexuals were almost never mentioned in HIV prevention campaigns. Today, a growing number of homosexuals in the country have taken up the fight for equal health rights.

Growing involvement among homosexuals

"For nearly three decades there were practically no HIV-related research or prevention efforts in Africa targeting homosexual men. While HIV was very much considered a gay disease in the West, global HIV programming did not direct focus towards male same-sex relationships in Africa," says Kåre Moen, who is carrying out a research project on HIV and homosexual men in Dar es Salaam.

According to Dr Moen, in the context of public health and community medicine this is an almost unbelievably serious sin of omission.

In his work, the researcher has examined homosexual identities, practices and cultures in Tanzania, among other things, and has compiled an overview of how homosexual men are affected by and relate to HIV. He is currently researching how homosexual men in Dar es Salaam are working to prevent HIV.

Twenty-two per cent of homosexual men in Dar es Salaam are HIV positive. The authorities have kept a low profile with regard to this group because, among other things, they consider HIV information campaigns to be an acknowledgement of the homosexual lifestyle.

Full text of article available at link below:  bit.ly/1ETwJNq

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