Tag Archives: Human Rights Day

September Round Up

If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re subscribed or receiving this news via Twitter but just in case you’re a casual browser why not stay a while, subscribe or follow us and read up on LASS and HIV/STI updates.  Here’s a brief roundup from last month’s posts

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GOVERNMENT & UK

A House of Lords Select Committee published a damning report on HIV in the UK, warning that the current priority given to HIV and Aids treatment by policy makers is ‘woefully inadequate’, and revealing that over 100,000 people in the UK will be living with the disease by next year. The Lords Select Committee on HIV and Aids in the UK also warned that the total cost of treatment would soon top £1 billion per year, and called for all new patients at GPs’ surgeries to be tested for the illness on an opt-out basis.

The Government announced last month that the rules on gay men donating blood will change from a lifetime ban to a 12 month deferral period.  This decision follows a review of the current policies around exclusion and deferral from blood donation by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO).

Employing sport to communicate HIV messages isn’t new, but one initiative aims to go further – imparting skills for planning, evaluating and funding a football-based HIV campaign
Follow LASSleics on TwitterSCIENCE

Scientists in the US have developed a strain of green-glowing cats with cells that resist infection from a virus that causes feline AIDS, a finding that may help prevent the disease in cats and advance AIDS research in people.

Raising the CD4 cell threshold for the initiation of antiretroviral therapy to 500 cells/mm3 would mean that almost 50% of patients would need to start HIV treatment within a year of their infection with HIV, investigators from an international study of seroconverters report in the October 15th edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Scientists spent a decade trying—and failing—to map the structure of an enzyme that could help solve a crucial part of the AIDS puzzle. It took online gamers all of three weeks.

Spanish researchers have completed the first human trial of a new vaccine against HIV. It has been successful in 90% of the HIV-free volunteers during phase I testing. This vaccine brings great hope to eradicate HIV forever.
Follow LASSleics on TwitterINTERNATIONAL

The Zimbabwe government says it is considering drastic measures of door-to-door HIV testing campaigns for every citizen in the country in a move to try and eliminate new HIV infections.

Linkage to facility-based HIV care from a mobile testing unit is feasible, South African researchers report in the advance online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.  In a stratified random sample of 192 newly diagnosed individuals who had received CD4 test results, linkage to care was best among those who were ART eligible, Darshini Govindasamy and colleagues found.

The David Kato Vision & Voice Award will be presented annually, on Human Rights Day (10th December), to an individual who demonstrates courage and outstanding leadership in advocating for the sexual rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, particuarly in enviroments where these uinduvidual face continued rejection, marginalization, isolation and persecution.  David Kato, the advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda was one of Uganda’s most prominent gay rights activists until January, when he was murdered in his home weeks after winning a court victory over a tabloid that called for homosexuals to be killed.  Read more about it here.
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Each month, a registered dietician from the NHS, visits LASS to offer helpful advice and information on food nutrition and healthy eating for people who live with HIV.  Our next session “The Truth About Fats” will be on Friday, 16th September 2011 from 12:00pm.  This is an opportunity to ask questions and speak with the dietitian directly about any concerns you may have.

Well done to TRADE Sexual Health after a very successful Gay Pride.  This year’s Leicester Gay Pride saw Trade Sexual Health join forces yet again with the Leicester GUM Clinic to present the Health & Wellbeing Marquee 2011!

  • Excellent strategy, well communicated.
  • Excellent and trusted leadership.
  • Excellent coaching and mentoring across the organisation.

These are just three of the positive statements used to describe Leicestershire AIDS Support Services by Investors in People after our recent assessment.  We are proud to announce that we are now officially recognised as an investor in people organisation.

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David Kato: Gay Rights Activist, his Murder and the Vision & Voice Award

The David Kato Vision & Voice Award will be presented annually, on Human Rights Day (10th December), to an individual who demonstrates courage and outstanding leadership in advocating for the sexual rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, particuarly in enviroments where these uinduvidual face continued rejection, marginalization, isolation and persecution.

The award will be accompanied by a one time grant of US$10,000.

David Kato, the advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda was one of Uganda’s most prominent gay rights activists until January, when he was murdered in his home weeks after winning a court victory over a tabloid that called for homosexuals to be killed.

Along with other Ugandan gay activists, Kato had reported increased harassment, when a high court judge granted a permanent injunction against the Rolling Stone tabloid newspaper, preventing it from identifying homosexuals in its pages.

Late last year, Kato had been pictured on the front page of an issue carrying the headline “Hang Them”. He was one of the three complainants in the court case.

“Since the ruling, David said people had been harassing him, and warning they would ‘deal with him,'” Julian Pepe Onziema, a close friend and fellow gay rights activist, said.

“We were due to meet to discuss security arrangements, but he said he did not have money to get to town. A few hours after we spoke, his phone was off.”

Human Rights Watch said it was too early to speculate why Kato had been killed, but added that there were serious concerns about the level of protection of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Kampala.

Maria Burnett, the Uganda researcher for Human Rights Watch, urged a “real and substantive investigation” into the murder.

News of Kato’s murder came after a lesbian due to be deported from Britain to Uganda said she feared she would be killed if she was returned.

Brenda Namigadde, 29 – who fled Uganda in 2003 after being threatened over her relationship with her Canadian partner – is being held at Yarl’s Wood detention centre.

She told the Guardian Newspaper: “I’ll be tortured or killed if I’m sent back to Uganda. They’ve put people like me to death there. Most of my friends in Uganda have disappeared.”

Her initial asylum claim was rejected, in part on the basis that there was not sufficient evidence that she is a lesbian.

Ugandan society is, in general, homophobic – but in recent years the anti-gay feeling has been stoked by religious leaders, a group of US evangelicals and politicians.

In 2009, MP David Bahati introduced the anti-homosexuality bill, which calls for gay people to be imprisoned for life. Repeat offenders would face the death penalty, while Ugandans would be required to report any homosexual activity within 24 hours or face police action themselves.

Widely condemned internationally, the bill remains before parliament. Kato, human rights activist, was murdered in his home in Kampala, Uganda on 26 January 2011.

 

In recognition of his life and courage, and the continued struggle of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals around the world, partners committed to eliminating violence, stigma and discrimination have established the David Kato Vision & Voice Award.

Inspired by his work, the award recognizes the leadership of individuals who strive to uphold the numerous dimensions of sexual rights for LGBTI people. Sexual rights are an evolving set of entitlements related to sexuality that contribute to the freedom, equality and dignity of all people, and are an important aspect of human rights. The realization of these rights is also an integral element to a meaningful HIV response among these marginalized groups.

Why is this important?

The freedom to enjoy and express our sexuality is an integral facet of life, happiness and well-being. Yet, over 70 countries continue to criminalize same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults, adding a complex dimension to realizing the sexual rights of individuals.

Stigma, discrimination and violence towards LGBTI people, and repressive laws that criminalize same sex consensual acts, undermine access to sexual health and HIV-related services and cause many to hide their same-sex relationships. Even where this is not illegal, real or perceived homophobia among health workers can make individuals reluctant to access services.

To find out the situation in your country, visit the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

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