Sudan's government blamed gay school sex for rising HIV infection rates, while the opposition slam leaders for promoting homosexuality and AIDS
Teenagers sodomising younger boys at school is apparently the ‘reason’ for the rapid rise of HIV cases in Sudan’s youth, according to a report broadcasted by the country’s Blue Nile TV.
The report featured a medical doctor employed by Sudan ministry of health who stated that ‘sodomy has had an alarming growth in the education system’ and that senior students force younger to have sex with them in school toilets, ‘spreading the AIDS epidemic’.
Sudan is gripped in a state of moral panic created by the report, which was broadcast last week.
Opposition leaders blasted the government for creating an education system that ‘promotes’ homosexuality and AIDS.
One critic alleged that as the government recently changed primary education from six to eight grades, the increased age differences ‘encouraged older teenage homosexuals’ to take advantage of younger students. This, according to the journalist is the main reason for the infection rates.
The journalist, Mohammad Ali Taha Shaiqi of the Drafur based opposition group, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), claimed he requested the government to address and change this ‘error’ in the education system but it had been refused.
He stated that the refusal of his request ‘proves’ the government is aware and in fact ‘promoting homosexual practices’ in schools which in turns ‘spreads AIDS and destruction’.
Speaking with GSN, Mohammad, chair of Rainbow Sudan, the country’s main LGBT rights group said: ’One of the real problems that causes infection with the HIV virus is the lack of sexual education in schools.
‘Ignorance, more than anything else, is responsible for viral transmission, it has nothing to do homosexuality or age differences.
‘If the government and political opposition are serious about tackling Sudan’s growing HIV infection rates, then safer sex education is the key.’
32 year-old Mohammad explains the context: ‘Two months ago police broke into a bar and arrested several people for drinking alcohol including one foreign national.
‘Then there was the attack on the weapon factory, which promoted discussion how the Islamic government is losing its control of the country.
‘The president, as a reaction, declared the application of Shari’a law in Khartoum [the country’s capital], and the calls for more freedom and rights voiced in the parliament just went down the drain.
‘I guess now we are being used to kick around in an attempt to confuse and win public opinion by both sides.
‘And yet nothing will be done about HIV infection, which many examples show benefits from the lack of education, ignorance and homophobia that both the government and its critics champion.’
Sudan is one of the strictest countries in the world which criminalize homosexuality. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal and, according to Article 148, capital punishment applies to a man or woman engaging in such acts.
Punishments also include lashes and imprisonment.
Even without that, being out can have serious social and economic consequences – it typically means a loss of jobs prospects, ostracisation from family and community, even murder by so called ‘honour killings’.