By Melanie Nathan, August 20, 2013.
In an unconscionable gross misrepresentation and twist of wording the press in the African country Ghana is seizing on the words of the UNAIDS (United Nation’s AIDS Organization) to further demonize homosexuality and local LGBTI people. Following a conference in Abidjan Cote D’Ivoire, as reflected in the example of a press report below, the Modern Ghana is saying UNAIDS is blaming the increase of HIV and AIDS on homosexuality, instead of noting that UNAIDS is blaming the increase on the CRIMINALIZATION of homosexuality.
The Headline reads: “Homosexuality cause of increased HIV/AIDS infections among couples– UNAIDS” is a complete flagrant lie. The header should have read ” Criminalizing Homosexuality causes increase in HIV/AIDS infections among couples– UNAIDS”
By adding “UNAIDS” to the misrepresenting headline the news outlet is asserting that this is in fact what UNAIDS had reported, which is an out and out lie.
This so called journalist then went on to properly provide the statistics and contradicted his misleading and persecutory header, by noting in the body of his piece, “According to the UNAIDS there has been a 66% rise in infection of HIV/AIDS among couples because, there are a lot of laws criminalising homosexuality and lesbianism in many African countries.”
This is the type of irresponsibility that feeds the myth and lies about homosexuality and that will cause LGBTI people direct harm in Ghana and other countries as this very header spreads.
I plan to write to UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe, and I hope many more of you will do so too. This journalist and The Modern Ghana need to be reprimanded. I have no doubt that Mr. Sidibe at UNAIDS would be horrified by this misleading report. The publication “Modern Ghana” should be asked to correct this header, with an apology, and if they fail to do so we will have to believe that the misrepresentation is intended to further persecute LGBTI people in Ghana and the other countries to which this header will surely spread.
HERE is the Article in full:
Homosexuality cause of increased HIV/AIDS infections among couples– UNAIDS
The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has disclosed at a just ended UNAIDS conference in Abidjan Cote D’Ivoire that, more married couples in Africa are getting infected with the deadly virus.
According to the UNAIDS there has been a 66% rise in infection of HIV/AIDS among couples because, there are a lot of laws criminalising homosexuality and lesbianism in many African countries.
UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe, said the culture of Africans about marriage coupled with the rise in new infections among young girls in some parts of the continent, has also compounded the situation.
Most African countries have seen a decline in new HIV infections for the past few years, compared with Eastern Europe and Central Asia which saw an increase of new infections by 25% in the past 10 years.
Despite winning the fight in terms of containing new infections and even reducing mortality due to HIV, Sidibe said there is still a huge gap on the continent.
Kenya has almost 40% of new infections among stable couples with 66 percent of the new infections being discordant: a pair of long-term sexual partners in which one has a sexually transmitted infection and the other does not, he said.
“If you take 1.7 million people [who] are dying of AIDS-related illnesses, almost half of those people are from the developing world,” he said, calling for prevention to make sure that couples infected had access to early treatment to stop transmission.
“So we need to be able to make treatment available as a human right, to people who are in need of treatment and that is what we need to address the future,” he said.
Leveraging the AIDS response, UNAIDS works to build political action and to promote the rights of all people for better results for global health and development. Globally, it sets policy and is the source of HIV-related data. In countries, UNAIDS brings together the resources of the UNAIDS Secretariat and 11 UN system organizations for coordinated and accountable efforts to unite the world against AIDS. This misreporting certainly does not assist in the mission of UNAIDS.
Sidibe also writes for Huffington Post – perhaps he could write a piece correcting this and speaking to the issue of how his comments in African nations can lend itself to such gross misinterpretation. Clarity is needed and urgently!
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- UNAIDS urges media practitioners to intensify safe sex education (modernghana.com)
- UNAIDS maximises HIV treatment, prevention with ‘Treatment 2015’ (vanguardngr.com)
- Remarks by UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe (magarya.wordpress.com)