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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Botswana stops MSM HIV/AIDS prevention

Source: African Activist

Botswana's Ministry of Health has intervened to block US funding for HIV/AIDS prevention efforts targeted at men who have sex with men (MSM) and their partners because homosexuality is illegal in Botswana, the Sunday Standard reports.

The Botswana government has intervened to stop an initiative by the United States government to fund HIV-AIDS interventions targeted at same sex partners. Sunday Standard can reveal that the Ministry of Health stepped in at the eleventh hour to halt a call for proposals, issued by the US government under its Presidents’ Emergency fund for HIV and AIDS(PEFPAR), for HIV-AIDS intervention initiatives for same sex partners, on the grounds that the its target groups are classified as unlawful in Botswana.
African Activist recently posted about the work of Uyapo Ndadi, the Executive Director at Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDs (BONELA). At the time of the posting, Ndadi had planned to present the findings of an HIV/AIDS study at the National AIDS Council (NAC). The Sunday Standard continues:
BONELA recently revealed the findings of their private investigations into the extent of HIV-AIDS prevalence on same sex partners. They had hoped that more funding from the US would help them intensify their research.

“This is another opportunity gone down the drain. It is a case of serious denials on the part of government” [Ndadi] said...

The project would in the end increase access to high quality HIV prevention, care and treatment services for men who have sex with men (MSM) and their partners.

It consisted of two components, implementing a needs assessment in six identified urban areas and designing and conducting a needs-based and targeted HIV prevention intervention aimed at reaching MSM, with prevention messages.
On February 19, reported on Ndadi's plans to advocate for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Botswana.
Uyapo Ndadi is set to fight it out with government in court over section 164 of the Penal Code, which criminalises same sex relationships.

Homosexuality is regarded as abominable and sinful, it is perceived as a crime and homosexual sex is punishable with a possible jail sentence if convicted.

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