Gay rights activists have opened the first ever clinic for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people in Uganda’s capital Kampala.
The clinic will specifically focus on HIV/AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Gay lobby group Ice Breakers Uganda (IBU) opened the centre which will be run by professional health workers.
IBU official Dennis Wamala told African gay rights advocacy site Behind The Mask the clinic would offer ‘better avenues in health seeking behaviours among the LGBTI community.’
He said: ‘LGBTI people often fear to go to hospitals due to stigma. But here at the clinic they can easily open up.’
Gay activist Bishop Christopher Senyonjo led the clinic opening with a service. He said even in times of agony, hopelessness and despair, homosexuals and heterosexuals were equal before God.
The clinic is confidential and free for all LGBTI people. However, a bill saying medical practitioners should report their gay clients to the police is making its way through parliament.
Since the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2009, many doctors fear treating gay people in case they are arrested.
The government led an initiative to restrict homosexuals from access to medical care and treatment, which has led to increased infections in the Ugandan gay community.
In Uganda, gay men and women have no rights or protection whatsoever. If they are found out, they can face life imprisonment or even the death penalty if they are a ‘repeat offender’.
There is an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in Uganda, which includes 150,000 children. An estimated 64,000 people died from AIDs in the African country in 2009.