African Conference on Sexual Health and Rights

Published: January 7, 2014

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6th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights – Yaoundé, Cameroon February 2014 
– A golden opportunity for improving the lives of persecuted LGBT people will occur in February in one of the most homophobic countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation* – which has been working closely with several LGBT groups in Cameroon (and other countries around Africa) have been invited by the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS) to be a part of the 6th Annual Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights Yaoundé, Cameroon
For four years, the St. Paul’s Foundation’s network has been building international partnerships where difficult religious and cultural issues can be addressed practically with specific health service outcomes. 
Difficult issues are couched in “traditional values” or promulgated as a move for the “protection of the family”.  As gender equality continues to be challenged by religious fundamentalism, many of the arguments used against LGBT inclusion are grounded in institutional sexism. Women’s health suffers because of discrimination, disempowerment and poverty — and these health risks are especially intense for African women who are lesbians. 
At the conference, our panel of four experts will discuss how these problems can be solved.  
Maxensia Nakibuuka, an HIV-positive heterosexual woman from Uganda, will discuss her work creating a gay/straight alliance of home-based caregivers, a health clinic that welcomes LGBT people and sex workers, and most recently an AIDS program sponsored by the Catholic Church.  
Berthe Marcelle Awoh Ngoume who founded a Cameroonian lesbian organization will discuss the largely unmet health needs of African lesbians. 
Andy Kopsa, an American journalist, will discuss how to remove institutional barriers that prevent LGBT people receiving AIDS-related services funded by PEPFAR and USAID.  Ms. Kopsa has reported on the ground in Uganda on LGBT rights, PEPFAR abuses and the ongoing deadly impact of criminalization in that country.  
The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, an Episcopal priest from Ireland and the United States, will tell how grassroots organizations working to improve women’s health have influenced larger organizations  -the World Bank, the Catholic Church and World Vision. 
For the past decade, the economic empowerment of women is becoming an important strategy in the war against HIV infection, so what about LGBT people?  This discussion must continue to be brought to the table.
Full text of article available at link below –

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