The persecution of millions of people in Commonwealth countries where homosexuality is a illegal is worsening the HIV crisis according a new report.
The report commissioned for UK Prime Minister David Cameron describes the anti- gay laws as a British colonial legacy. Forty out of fifty three Commonwealth countries criminalise same-sex relationships.
The Commonwealth accounts for over 60 per cent of HIV cases worldwide even though it only covers 30 per cent of the worldǯs population because criminalisation worsens HIV pandemics and undermines efforts to tackle HIV, the report states. Not only are rates of HIV infection higher, but the proportion of people helped by health workers is lower, the report says.
The prevention of HIV among gay men in countries where homosexuality is illegal is “difficult to address due to double stigmatisation.”
In Pakistan and parts of Nigeria, those caught in same- sex relationships can be put to death. In Barbados, Guyana, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia, gay citizens can face life imprisonment. More than 20 twenty other Commonwealth countries have penalties of 10 years or more in prison.