U.N. Official: Caribbean Must Relax Antigay Laws
Caribbean governments must relax laws criminalizing homosexuality and
prostitution if they hope to combat AIDS, a U.N. official says. Gays and
prostitutes "will not come forward to be tested, educated, and to be
treated, because there are laws against them," said Ruben Del Prado,
regional program adviser for the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Del Prado’s statements came at a news conference coinciding with the annual
UNAIDS world report on the epidemic released Wednesday. The Caribbean,
excluding Cuba, has an HIV infection rate of nearly 2%—the second-highest
regional rate after sub-Saharan Africa. About 500,000 people in the Caribbean
live with the disease; by contrast, aggressive campaigns in Cuba have kept
infection rates low. Laws criminalizing homosexuality are common throughout
the Caribbean. Penalties vary.