Rwanda: HIV prevalence among female sex workers, gays rises

HIV/AIDS prevalence is increasing among female commercial sex workers and the gay community, according to a report by the Rwanda Biomedical Centre. Findings reveal one reason behind high HIV among the Rwandan gay community is stigma and resentment, which has made them continue practising their lifestyle discreetly and dangerously. Many of members of the LGBT community who live with HIV do not seek treatment, while others do not get HIV tested because they fear mistreatment from the public and medics.

The survey also indicates that some MSMs are involved in commercial sex. Some 42.5% reported having ever been paid with money, goods, or services for sex. “It is true, commercial sex among LGBT is high,” said Enoc Ndahenyuka, member of Rwanda Rainbow Rights, an association for gay rights. “It’s because most of them are really vulnerable; some have no jobs, others have been rejected by their families & others have kept their orientation secret so that they don’t get thrown out of home."

Authorities at Rwanda Correctional Services recently confirmed the existence of homosexuality in prisons, raising concerns that many of those who are HIV-positive go on to spread it when they are released. However, calls to distribute condoms in prisons have been suppressed by state health authorities. Read More