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ILGA Stephane Tchakam, ILGA


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in SOUTH AFRICA, 09/02/2010

While South Africa remains one of the countries with highest HIV prevalence rates, gay rights organizations are doing their bit to curb the spread of the syndrome and to ensure that people know their statuses.

OUT LGBT Well-being, a gay health rights organisation in Pretoria has initiated a campaign “Know your status Day”, which it hopes will effectively respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The aim of Know your status Day is to increase the need for people to go for regular HIV testing, says OUT adding, “Although we are targeting lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) people, the day is aimed at promoting HIV/AIDS testing across identities, so we will not turn heterosexuals clients away”, Elmie Munday, Prism HIV and STI nurse at OUT LGBT Well-being clarified.

A monthly event, the next Know your status Day will be on 16 February 2010 at OUT’s Prism centre in Pretoria.

Statistics show that currently, South Africa has the largest population living with the disease with more than 5 million people infected.

According to UNAIDS people fail to get tested for HIV because of various reasons such as fear of stigma and discrimination and Munday thinks educating mainstream service providers will go a long way.

“The LGBTI community still experience stigma issues regarding their sexual preferences. If you were to be HIV positive and gay or lesbian, you will experience double the stigma.

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