First Representative for LGBTI Community Appointed by UCCM in Fight against HIV
It might not seem like a big achievement to many but the appointment of Kikonyongo Kiyumbi to the Uganda Country Cordinating Mechanism (UCCM) as a representative for the LGBTI community and sex workers could be the first virtual step to a homophobic free Uganda.
UCCM is an umbrella that brings together persons at risk of contracting HIV through their line of work and lifestyle. Also newly included on the executive panel is a representative for fishing communities, truckers as well as uniformed servicer personnel.
UCCM’s main objective is to improve the efforts towards the fight against HIV especially among key affected groups that have otherwise been ignored in the past.
With the argument from critics that excluding the LGBTI community from the active fight against HIV/AIDS would be unrealistic; this development could open doors for more minority groups to join in the curb this surge.
The LGBTI community is one of the groups greatly affected by HIV yet it has continuously been sidelined in the measures put up to fight the deadly disease. The Ugandan laws that criminalise homosexuality as well as all LGBTI activities have not helped the situation as most people would rather stay in the closet and suffer silently than openly embrace their sexuality and end up behind bars, an attitude that has only increased the spread of HIV within the community.
The inclusion of an LGBTI representative on the UCCM panel will hopefully be the beginning of curbing the HIV virus within the community as well as extending health services to those that are both infected and affected by the same.