Sunday, November 30, 2008

Being Gay, Living with AIDS, and Living in Haiti

There was this interesting report on openly gay men, many with AIDS, in Haiti. There all kinds of discrimination against gay men, let alone those living with AIDS in Haiti, as is true in the US and other countries as well. Haiti is very conservative, as are parts of the US:

Nov 30th, 2008 | ST. MARC, Haiti -- A dozen men in T-shirts declaring "I am gay" and "I am living with HIV/AIDS" marched with hundreds of other demonstrators through a Haitian city on Sunday in what organizers called the Caribbean nation's first openly gay march.

The march, held a day ahead of World AIDS Day in the western city of St. Marc, called for better prevention and treatment in a country long plagued by the virus.

Organizers said they hoped the march will break barriers to reach more HIV-positive people and gay men with programs that have helped decrease the country's infection rate by two-thirds in the last decade.

"They suffer double the stigma and double the discrimination," said Esther Boucicault Stanislas, a leading activist known as the first person in Haiti to publicly declare that she was HIV-positive after her husband died of AIDS in the early 1990s.

About 500 participants that included health ministry officials and workers with United Nations programs followed a speaker-truck through the dusty city, chanting and carrying banners en route to the mayor's office. No officials received them.

Tomorrow is Dec. 1st, World's AIDS Day, a day in which we remember those who are living with and have died of AIDS around the world. Let us celebrate life, and the memory of those who have died, especially in Haiti and other countries where people do not have the medical treatments or whose leaders have followed mythic treatments!

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