Indigenous communities of GBTTs and MSM are challenge to resist the HIV epidemic and other STDs impact in Republic of Guatemala

Published: August 1, 2008

Indigenous communities of GBTTs (gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual) and MSM (Men who have sex with men) are challenge to resist the HIV epidemic and other STDs impact in Republic of Guatemala

Issues: Guatemala has a population of 13.000,000 inhabitants, 60% are indigenous population with a HIV epidemic concentrated among MSM with a prevalence between 11.5% and 18%, with a rich ethnic diversity (Maya, Xinca, Garifuna and Mixed race), linguistic diversity (more than 23 indigenous languages) and multicultural diversity, nevertheless within this diversity there´s is no recognition regarding the diversity of GBLT (gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender) and MSM.
The HIV and STDs prevention strategies for GBTT and MSM communities in Guatemala have historically focused in the capital city and later in some departments of the country with mixed-race populations, they don’t include the diverse ethnic groups, cultures and languages.

Description: Project Unidos of the “Asociación de Salud Integral" has worked with two OBC of indigenous gay men, Nueva Imagen (New Image) in Quetzaltenango and Mlon riil´ and Rshbill´ Rshiín Tzkín jaý in Santiago Atitlan, they are organizations conformed by young Mayan-quiche and Tzujil men respectively, 25 leaders of these organizations had been trained into knowledge about STDs and HVI prevention, strengthen their organizational structures also visualization and vindication in the election of the Ali gay re xelajuj noj, (miss gay of the town of Xelajú) respecting their culture and perception of Mayan cosmovision and cosmogony.

Lessons learned: Knowing epidemic nature, the challenges to work confronting the double stigma due to both social prejudices against gays and indigenous, are the contextualization of the actions to strengthen and create abilities and skills for indigenous populations of GBTT and HSH into the HIV and STDs prevention also knowledge about vulnerability contexts, respecting the cultural and ethnic diversities and their diversity in terms of languages.

Next steps: To strengthen and create abilities and skills for prevention and respect for the human rights in the indigenous GBTT and MSM communities is imperative in the fight against HIV epidemic in Guatemala.

-Abstract available at link below-

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