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Mama Africa preaches to LGBTIQA+ members to seek help and on the sensitisation of health workers.

07 December 2018 | Art and Entertainment

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTIQA+) community last Saturday held its second annual Pride Parade to create awareness, bring visibility to the movement and celebrate diversity.

The march which took place here under the theme 'Love has no labels' also coincided with World Aids Day which is commemorated on 1 December annually.

The parade was followed by various activities to observe World Aids Day, including HIV testing and education on the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), as well as nicotine addiction amongst the community. PrEP, taken by individuals at substantial risk of contracting HIV which causes Aids, is part of a prevention combination package that includes the use of male and female condoms, lubricants and anti-retroviral therapy for HIV-positive partners, among others.

Spokesperson for the Rights Not Rescue Trust Nikodemus Aoxamub, also known as Mama Africa, in an interview with Nampa shortly after the march said healthcare workers are not sensitised.

One of the issues the community is struggling with is safe access to healthcare, as LGBTQIA+ people are often discriminated against and stigmatised by religious healthcare workers, he said.

“When we come for particular healthcare services, healthcare workers will tell you that you cannot dress like a woman - you must dress like a man,” Aoxamub said.

When transgender sex workers in particular, such as Mama Africa, reveal to healthcare workers that they are sexually involved with men, they are further stigmatised and advised against it.

Another concern of the LGBTQIA+ community is the issue of substance abuse.

Aoxamub said many people are afraid of coming out because they may be shunned by their families, friends and other social structures, which often results in their excessive use of recreational substances (drugs and alcohol) as a means to deal with their trauma.

“Most of the people who have come out (as LGBTQIA+) abuse substances such as alcohol, drugs and so forth. We also want our people that are going through that pain to be professionally helped through therapy or a social worker so they can be reintegrated into society,” said Mama Africa.

NAMPA

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