The South African National Aids Council (SANAC) launched South Africa’s first ever LGBTI HIV Plan at a satellite session during this year’s SA AIDS Conference at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.
The LGBTI HIV Plan is a strategic guide tailored for challenges that are more prevalent to LGBTI people and is a milestone in the country’s response to HIV, STIs and TB. The 5-year plan supports and runs concurrently with the newly launched National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs for the period 2017-2022. The Plan is not only a first for the country and continent but in the world. It is therefore a much-needed guide to provide effective interventions among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Through a package of services outlined, the Plan aims to reach 200 000 men who have sex with men (MSM) and 5000 transgender people by the year 2022 to avail much-needed services at their disposal. Transgender women are 49 times more likely to acquire HIV and MSMs are highly stigmatized and discriminated against in our society. This poses multifaceted challenges against efforts to end HIV, TB and STIs. The Plan will assist the country by providing a focused guidance to help reverse the prevalence of these three infections as well as extensively address issues of stigma and discrimination among LGBTI people.