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No hospitals: Gay sex worker explains challenges facing LGBT community in Kenya

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 28 Jul, 2021 21:28 | 2 mins read
Gay sex worker Samuel Githaiga. PHOTO/COURTESY

Having to watch over your back every time you move around in your own country can be a nightmare for any citizen but this can be worse if you are unable to access medical care in any nearest health centre in your own country because of your sexual orientation. This is a life that the LGBT family face every day in Kenya despite being born and brought up in this country.

Lesbians and homosexuals face a variety of health challenges arising from their sexual activities some needing special lubricants for use. In an interview with ‘Antony’, a clinician at a Nairobi ‘gay only’ clinic says anal watts caused by human papillomavirus, gonorrhoea and HIV are the most common cases handled at the clinic.

Antony who is also gay, says the clinic does not have the capacity to handle the increasing number of gay communities in the country, especially in major cities.

Gay people especially men suffering from this condition shy away from seeking services in health centres around them due to stigma thus jeopardizing their health.

Samuel Githaiga a 24-year-old gay sex worker was among people living with HIV who held a demonstration outside Ministry of Health offices recently demanding the government to avail the anti retroviral drugs but his plea was special.

He says as a gay young person, it has been a challenge accessing his ARVs due to stigma and discrimination at other health facilities that attend to people who are not gay.

Githaiga puts it clear that he does not regret living as a gay person and engaging in prostitution saying he’s just among many who are like any other Kenyans and that’s their way of life.

It’s due to such predicaments that Peter Njane who is gay together with the other LGBT members within Nairobi set up a special clinic in the suburb of Nairobi to attend to their members and offer them a better environment to freely express themselves.

In an interview, Njane says; “Some of our members live with these conditions for years and only come out when it’s too late”. Njane who has been an advocate for the gay community in the country adds that they fought so hard for this group which is part of the key population to get included in government programmes.

He says the global donors, have been very instrumental in financing programmes that assist the key population in the country.

Efforts to get a comment from bodies entitled to serve the gay community including National Aids Control Council and National Aids and STI Control were futile each official seemingly shying away from addressing gay issues.

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