Homophobia Hinders Efforts To Address HIV/AIDS in Jamaica
Negative attitudes toward homosexuality present one of the biggest challenges to addressing HIV/AIDS in Jamaica -- where sexual relations between men are outlawed and carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison -- according to HIV/AIDS advocates, Inter Press Service reports. Although "great strides" have been made toward the acceptance of gays and lesbians in Jamaica, a "kernel of violent bigotry remains," making the work of HIV/AIDS advocates more difficult, according to Inter Press Service. "It's a common perception that HIV affects largely the gay population, (and) we can't say that that sort of perception has been totally wiped out," Daniel Townsend, Jamaica AIDS Support's advocacy and research coordinator, said, adding, "But to a large extent people are now getting the message that everyone is at risk for contracting this disease, and that is a huge and great help for AIDS service organizations in this country." Townsend said, "We now need to focus our energies on women, who are one of the most vulnerable groups in our population," adding, "While we've achieved a lot, there's still work to be done" (Deibert, Inter Press Service, 9/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.