FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

UNAIDS and Global Fund fear LGBT law in Nigeria will impede treatment

UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria recently expressed serious concern regarding a new law passed in Nigeria that will criminalize the gay community and may severely undermine HIV/AIDS initiatives.

The new law in Nigeria states that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community can be convicted and sentenced to up to ten years in prison for belonging to the LGBT community. Community centers and supporters of the LGBT community are also liable to serve the same sentence.

"A person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organization, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable to conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment," the new law states.

UNAIDS and the Global Fund predict the new law may lead to the denial of HIV services to LGBT members for fear of imprisonment, seriously impeding recent progress made towards eradicating the disease in the country. Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic globally; 17 percent of Nigerian men who have sex with men are HIV-positive.

UNAIDS and the Global Fund are calling for an urgent review of the law regarding its public health and human right consequences.