South Africa’s groundbreaking LGBTI HIV Plan – A first for the country and the world!
The LGBTI HIV Plan is a strategic guide tailored for challenges that are more prevalent to LGBTI people and is a milestone in the country’s response to HIV, STIs and TB. The 5-year plan supports and runs concurrently with the newly launched National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs for the period 2017-2022. The Plan is not only a first for the country and continent but in the world. It is therefore a much-needed guide to provide effective interventions among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Through a package of services outlined, the Plan aims to reach 200 000 men who have sex with men (MSM) and 5000 transgender people by the year 2022 to avail much-needed services at their disposal. Transgender women are 49 times more likely to acquire HIV and MSMs are highly stigmatized and discriminated against in our society. This poses multifaceted challenges against efforts to end HIV, TB and STIs. The Plan will assist the country by providing a focused guidance to help reverse the prevalence of these three infections as well as extensively address issues of stigma and discrimination among LGBTI people.
“Overall, the plan brings us closer to a world in which members of the LGBTI populations realise their health and human rights in an environment that is affirming of their sexual orientations and identities,” said Dr. Connie Kganakga, SANAC Acting CEO.
Renowned activist, SANAC Deputy Chairperson and leader of the LGBTI Sector, Mmapaseka Steve Letsike applauds SANAC structures for drafting the plan: “Sexual minorities experience prejudice when trying to access treatment; a challenge that hinders enrolment to care. We commend SANAC and its leaders for a much needed strategy that will ensure that LGBTI people have access to competent services,” she said.
The Premier of KwaZulu Natal, Willies Mchunu attended the launch and expressed his excitement about the Plan and its objectives, “I congratulate SANAC for drafting this brilliant Plan. This Plan is now a challenge to the rest of us, especially government, to ensure that is implemented well,” he said.
Other dignitaries, representatives from the Presidency, the National Department of Health, LGBTI personalities and other guests, also attended the launch.