No More HIV/Aids Prevention Programs For Tanzanian Gay Men

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Gay sex isn’t allowed in Tanzania. It is illegal and punishable by up to 30 years behind bars.

Tanzania government says it recently discovered that some of the local non-governmental organizations, as part of their HIV/Aids prevention programs, were promoting and normalizing same-sex relationships.

That, prompted the government of the East African country to suspend all community-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs for Tanzanian gay men.

It was in September that the government of the country promised to ban organizations promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the country.

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The country’s health minister announced the decision yesterday when he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the government would continue to provide HIV/AIDS services to adolescent girls and other groups.

Minister Ummy Mwalimu as quoted, said: “we have suspended MSM (men who have sex with men) community-based interventions pending a review.”



Reacting to the decision, John Kashika from Community Health Education Services & Advocacy NGO, lamented that the pause on HIV/AIDS programs for some LGBT groups would hamper the combat against the virus in the country.

“This is essentially denial of services to people who are at the highest risk of contracting HIV, there’s going to be a lot of implications,” he said.

Records have it that not fewer than 1.4 million Tanzanians are living with HIV. That, according to government stats, represents 5 percent of the nation’s population. Also, HIV prevalence among gay men is higher at 25 percent.

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In South Africa, a clinical HIV vaccine trial is expected to kick off this week. BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that not fewer than 5,000 South Africans have already, volunteered to take part in the HIV vaccine trial.

Hopes are high that the vaccine will stop the transmission of the virus. And, the first HIV-negative test subjects will receive their first vaccines in Soweto on Thursday.

Generally, the participants will receive five vaccines over a year.