The other day, President Obama said the future of Africa was in the hands of Africans, but what happens when Africans ignore the realities of 21st century life? Rates of HIV infections among gays in many African countries are 10 times those of the general male population. Most experts on the issue blame fear of being stigmatized as gay as well as poverty and lack of ready access to doctors for this figure. A wall of silence, repression, and discrimination face anyone who admits to being a gay or lesbian which compels many to accept illness to the shame of being exposed for their sexual beliefs. A recent story in Lancet notes, “unprotected anal sex is commonplace, knowledge and access to appropriate risk prevention measures are inadequate.”
Hopefully, the Bush era of refusing to support providing condoms and other health measures will assist many males to obtain access to what they must use while engaged in sex. However, personal feelings of shame will not go away until their individual societies begin to make changes.