May 17 marks the annual observance of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), a date that was chosen in 1990 to commemorate the removal of homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses within the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Classification of Diseases system.
IDAHOTB has been described as a ‘worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities’. It takes place in 130 countries, to bring awareness around the stigmatization and marginalization of the LGBTQ community, which precludes them from accessing public health services, including HIV and STI testing and prevention, and HIV treatment for those who are positive.
Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization serving over 1 million clients in 43 countries, is offering its support to the global IDAHOTB commemoration.
“AHF South Africa keeps the promise to the LGBTQ community of ‘cutting edge medicine and advocacy regardless of ability to pay’ with our engagement in initiatives like the Queer Feminist Film Festival (QFFF) and Durban Pride along with the continued efforts in our clinics, including the newly opened K Clinic in Umlazi and all our AHF supported sites,” said Hilary Thulare, AHF South Africa, country programme manager.
AHF South Africa will also supprt the the upcoming QFFF in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, on May 24 and 25.
“As part of our advocacy and our mission, AHF will persist in raising awareness of LGBTQ communities’ vulnerability to HIV as a consequence of stigmatization, social and economic marginalization, and all-too-frequent violence,” said Larissa Klazinga, Regional Policy and Advocacy Manager, AHF South Africa. “Human rights transgressions need to be confronted and urgently addressed – the right to adequate healthcare is simply too important and should not be determined by whether someone is gay or straight.”