Mzuzu — The Centre for Development of People (Cedep), a pro-minority rights organisation that promotes the rights of gays and lesbians, says high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among the group can be reduced if their rights are respected.
Cedep Administrator Dunker Kamba made the sentiments Tuesday in Mzuzu during an extraordinary District HIV/AIDS Coordinating Committee meeting for Mzuzu City.
Kamba said most homosexuals are unwilling to come in open for fear of stigma and this is fuelling the spread of the pandemic.
He then urged the general public in the country to stop discriminating gays and lesbians because they are also human beings like anyone else in the country.
"We can only reduce the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among same-sex partners if the society starts respecting the rights of minority groupings.
"They are Malawians who also are registered voters and pay tax. They are entitled to the right to good health like any other citizen in the country," Kamba said.
Speaking later in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Cedep’s Research Coordinator Billy Gama said the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among gays and lesbians in the country is at 21.4 per cent while the rate for the general population is 11.46 per cent, according to a 2008 survey.
Gama said lack of information on how gays and lesbians can prevent themselves from HIV/AIDS is the main factor fuelling the speared of the virus among them.
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