The umbrella body of Rwanda NGO Forum on Aids, and Health Promotion Forum (RNGOF) has expressed concerns over what they termed high HIV prevalence among young men practising homosexuality in the country.
According to Florida Mutamuriza, the Programme Officer in charge of sectors at RNGOF, the HIV prevalence rate remains obscure as homosexuals baulk at opening up to the public due to the stigma associated with their sexual orientation.
She said this during a meeting that brought together stakeholders under the umbrella body, in Rwamagana yesterday.
She said the spread of HIV among homosexual youth should be given attention, lamenting that the influence of foreign practices and culture was gradually eroding the social fabric.
“When surveys on HIV/Aids are done, they consider only heterosexuals yet we have youth amidst our communities engaging in homosexuality. Our recent surveys have demonstrated shocking results…so many young men are already infected with and affected by HIV/Aids,” he noted.
The Executive Secretary of RNGOF, Canut Dufitumikiza, said the campaign against HIV/Aids needed a holistic approach.
He added that the overall aim was to promote and evaluate activities of NGOs engaged in the fight against HIV/Aids in the country.
“Whether heterosexuals or homosexuals, we need proper networking and advocacy. There must be civil society involvement in all HIV/Aids programmes and policy development in order to improve the living conditions of the affected communities,” he said.
A Rwamagana resident, Jack Rutembesa, told The New Times that HIV/Aids posed a great danger among homosexuals.
He attributed the silence on Rwanda’s culture that regards homosexuality as abominable.
“We have so many young boys and men practising homosexuality…but none of them can dare surface. So, I am not surprised that there is no reporting of HIV cases.”