South Africa: World first as SA launches national LGBTI HIV plan

The plan has five objectives and targets in the areas of health, empowerment, psychosocial support, human rights and evaluation.

In what has been hailed as a world first, the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) launched the country’s national lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex (LGBTI) HIV plan in Durban on Wednesday night on the penultimate day of the 8th South African AIDS conference.

A beaming Steve Letsike, chairperson of the SANAC Civil Society Forum, told delegates and guests at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre that the plan would see South Africa as the first in the world to produce an LGBTI national framework.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu was also in attendance and entered the gathering to a round of applause.

“I am excited today, this has taken us 10 years,” said Letsike, as she recounted a meeting she attended at the organisation in 2006 when there was no LGBTI sector. Many people and organisations have fought and negotiated and influenced to get LGBTI on the agenda.

“It is important to realise we have fought and argued to be called LGBTI instead of MSM (Men who have sex with Men) or women who have sex with women (WSM) because we didn’t want to be looked at only as behaviours. A lot of that speaks to behaviour. When we forget identities we put ourselves at risk,” she said.

Letsike said that the plan was telling the world that South Africa was starting to be inclusive and that at a local facility level that included schools and courts, it was telling people that the LGBTI community wanted services. Read more via the Citizen