51 Muslim states blocked 11 LGBT groups from attending the UNAIDS Meeting.
This is problematic.
Where is the compassion? Where is the RAHMA (mercy)?
We need to focus on the things that matter. Like getting to zero.
We cannot get to zero if we deny LGBT groups the right to have their voices heard.
I do not stand with blocking these groups and neither should you. This is not a Muslim issue, this is not an LGBT issue, HIV is an OUR issue. We are all in this together. If we do not work together we will NEVER defeat this pandemic.
How many more youth have to become poz? How many more babies have to be born with HIV? How many more people have to die before we open our eyes?
Here are the facts:
In 2013 there were over 230,000 people living with HIV in the Middle East and North African countries. While the prevalence rate is low, the incidence rates are alarming. In that same year, there were roughly 25,000 new HIV infections and 15,000 AIDS-related deaths. HIV infection rates have raised by 35%. AIDS related deaths have increased by 66%. This is mostly due to that fact that only 11% were on treatment .
Do you not see an issue?
Nigeria, included in the 51 states, has over 3.2 million people living with HIV. Approximately 210,000 people have died from AIDS-related deaths, and 220,000 people became newly infected. Lastly only 21% were on treatment.
One of the populations most affected is the LGBT community.
"Given that transgender people are 49 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population, their exclusion from the high-level meeting will only impede global progress in combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic," said Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (3).
Yet, we are denying them a place at the table?
Since sodomy is punishable by death and imprisonment in most of the opposing states, many members of the LGBT community are remaining in the closet. Many of them are living with HIV. Many are marrying and passing on the virus to their spouses and children. Many engage in polygamy which even further increases HIV infection rates. Many are having sex with multiple partners which yes, you guessed it, increases incidence rates.
It's time to wake up.
Are you really going to let people die because they live differently than you?
By denying them access to the table, you are being detrimental to identifying solutions that will get us to zero. You are not eliminating the problem, you are only making it worse. YOU are the problem.
HIV affects everyone. It is not specific to the LGBT community, it is not specific to the White community, it is not specific to the Black community, it is not specific to the Latino community, or any religious community. It is specific to all communities. Once we all realize that, then the real work can begin.
I am a supporter of Human Rights. I am a supporter of Social Justice. I am a supporter of access to Health Care. I am a supporter of Life. Together WE can get to Zero. #KeepTheirSeats
Take to social media and make a statement on why the 11 LGBT groups should have a voice at the table. Use #KeepTheirSeats and make it go viral. Let the power of collective voices be heard. Keep Their Seats!