Senegal Gays Seek HIV Prevention Grant
U.K., January 14, 2005
By Ben Townley
SUMMARY: One of Senegal’s few gay groups could be on
the verge of making history, as the government decides whether to give it a
grant to raise HIV awareness among gays.
One of Senegal’s few gay groups could be on the verge
of making history this month, as the government decides whether to give a
grant to raise HIV awareness within the country’s fledgling gay community.
According to the United Nations news service IRIN, the
group is asking the government to give it funds to help promote strategies
devised to protect gay men from getting HIV.
If it agrees, it could mean the start of the slow road to
acceptance for gay people in the Muslim country.
However, IRIN points out that whether the group is given
the grant remains to be seen.
It says that the government is unlikely to want to be
seen to support gay groups, since homosexuality is still illegal in the
The leader of the group said that gay people were
routinely beaten and threatened. He added that the majority were unaware of
how to protect themselves from HIV infection, since gay sex is ignored in
government-produced HIV literature.
“The situation is extremely serious within the
community,” the leader, who was not identified, said. “We want to be able
to train people and go to the homes of people living with AIDS who are
suffering and who often are not informed about treatment.”
The gay group, which says it has 400 members, wants a
grant worth $73,000 to finance a project tackling HIV.
As well as helping protect the local gay community, they
say the money could also be used to offer assistance to those who are already
The funds would be distributed through the National
Council to Fight AIDS (CNLS), which told the U.N.’s news service that it
would consider the application in March.
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