Sunday, November 30, 2008

Openly gay marchers debut at Haiti AIDS rally

Full AP story here. (Emphasis added.)

A dozen men in T-shirts declaring "I am gay" and "I am living with HIV/AIDS" marched with hundreds of other demonstrators through a Haitian city on Sunday in what organizers called the Caribbean nation's first openly gay march.

The march, held a day ahead of World AIDS Day in the western city of St. Marc, called for better prevention and treatment in a country long plagued by the virus.

Organizers said they hoped the march will break barriers to reach more HIV-positive people and gay men with programs that have helped decrease the country's infection rate by two-thirds in the last decade. . . .

The nation of 9 million remains the most affected by HIV in the Caribbean, itself the region with the highest infection rate outside Sub-Saharan Africa. . . .

[G]ay men remain at risk because they hide from social programs due to prejudice and harassment, despite making up one-tenth of reported HIV cases in the Caribbean, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS reported. . . .

On Sunday, opposition was muted to the small contingent wearing white T-shirts bearing the word "masisi" -- a Haitian Creole slur for gay men that the marchers celebrated and chanted as their own.

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