Close the gap in infection of HIV for Lesbian, Bisexual women and Trans men (LBT) in Uganda.
For Immediate release
1st December 2014
Kampala: Every 1st of December, the world comes together to remember and celebrate the lives of those we have lost to and also those living with and affected HIV/AIDS and most importantly to reaffirm commitment to protect ourselves and each other from HIV.
The year 2014 has been a tough one for the HIV activists in Uganda affecting not only Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) organizations but also mainstream organizations that have programs around HIV prevention, treatment and care.
The passing and subsequent signing of the Anti Homosexuality Ac t (AHA) early this year saw most donors withdrawing aid to some organizations which crippled work, led to termination of projects and threatened closure of some organizations. This decline in funding meant that key populations; including LGBTI persons that were accessing those services were affected too.
The HIV epidemic will not end if we don’t ensure that all people at risk of contracting HIV can safely access the care and support they need. The road to zero infections by 2030 would be but a dream. It is in this light that Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) calls upon the ministry of health, civil society, our partners and the global movement to plan for programs streamlined for the lesbian woman, bisexual woman and transman. Much as the rate of infection amongst LBT persons is relatively low, it doesn’t mean that there is no risk at all.
According to a research report by FARUG on bridging the gap in access and knowledge on sexual and reproductive health for LBTI persons, both health practitioners and LBT persons lack basic information on the health needs of women who have sex with women (WSW). This implies that the rate of exposure to infection is high due to ignorance.
“I am a transman. Trans men do not contract HIV. STDs and HIV is for bisexual women.” Said a member of the LGBTI community. This is evidence of the knowledge gap and calls for sensitization on, not only HIV but also Hepatitis B and Tuberculosis that they are prone to contracting and yet remain ignorant about.
Very few are aware of or where to access emergency prevention/Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) after being exposed to HIV when raped and yet corrective rape of Lesbian women still remains a rampant occurrence in Uganda.
Service providers working with and for most at risk populations should endeavor to research more on the specific and unique health needs of LBTI persons and ensure a constant availability of condoms and dental dams for their protection. It is not enough to consult during planning and yet not be catered for in the Implementation of projects.
We urge LGBTI and HIV activists in Uganda to include LBT persons in lobbying for HIV and advocate for more research if we are to achieve zero infections by 2030. Let us break the cycle of HIV infection in Uganda.
For more information contact:
Nkali Warry Biggy: Acting Executive Director: 0782306236
Jay Abang: Programs manager FARUG. 0782628611
Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) is a women’s rights organization that advocates for the rights of lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and intersex person in Uganda.