Friday 16 June 2017

New strategic plan to support the LGBTI community

BULELWA MAPHANGA writes: The South African National Aids Council (SANAC) has produced South Africa's first comprehensive LGBTI HIV plan, launched by  the Premier of KwaZulu Natal, Senzo Mchunu and SANAC co-chairperson, Steve Letsike.

The plan was created by the LGBTI sector, workers' sector and civil society to deal with HIV, STIs and TB. It recommends a full range of interventions.

SANAC had come under fire from civil society organisations at the conference for  merely paying lip service” to vulnerable communities such as LGBTI "without allocating resources or setting objectives and targets for the delivery of services.” 

At the launch, Steve Letsike said: "It took us almost 10 years to come up with this strategic plan for the LGBTI community. We need to acknowledge the LGBTI community to say to the rest of the world that we are starting to be inclusive.

"HIV, STIs and TB also affects us as the LGBTI community. This plan is for us and about us, it will ensure that our rights are also taken into consideration," said Letsike.

 Despite our progressive constitution protecting the rights of LGBTI community, discrimination is still severe. Many LGBTI face social exclusion, violence, targeted discrimination, negligence and even murder.
Many LGBTI avoided public health services, fearing discrimination, judgement and lack of confidentiality.

"There is an urgent need for services that are designed for them and health is just the start. Many other public services need to consider the needs of the LGBTI community," she said

One of the main objectives of the plan is reduce HIV by 63%,STIs by 70% and TB by 30%. 

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