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[672] RE: World Conference Against Racism [670]

Christopher Park, Switzerland
- Re: [670] World Conference Against Racism 

That UNAIDS has secured itself a place on the Durban Racism Conference is a sign that there exists a consensus on how intolerance impacts on HIV/AIDS vulnerability. 

What remains to be proven is UNAIDS' ability to advocate, in the face of increasing levels of governmental/religious intolerance of sexual diversity (MSM, gays, homos, sodomites whatever term pleases you), for action against "Discrimination, Stigma and Denial". Given the refusal to grant participatory status in this conference to IGLHRC, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (despite this organisation's fine record of action against HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination, particularly in the South), I fail to see who will be defending the rights of the aforementioned vulnerable population (recent US statistics confirm the potentially explosive rises MSM transmission rates even if UNGASS finds the word "homosexual" distasteful) if not UNAIDS. And even then, UNAIDS' position on MSM issues has not been particularly vocal of late. 

I am concerned that, apart from Dr. Aggleton, none of the panellists for the "stigma, discrimination and racism" seminar seem to be particularly predisposed to affirm the right for male homosexuals or bisexual/MSM men to specific and effective HIV education and prevention. 

I, for one, will be closely observing UNAIDS' position on MSM HIV issues at Durban. I hope that UNAIDS will take an assertive and courageous position against the unhealthy religious/political mishmash that brought UNGASS to a standstill and which refuses to recognise the potential, if not already existing, reality of an MSM HIV epidemic in many countries. Arbitrarily jailing 52 men in Egypt on trumped-up charges of homosexuality bodes no good for the political and personal respect gay men need to be encouraged to practice safer sex . Dr. Aggleton certainly knows this, I hope his fellow panellists will also keep this in mind at Durban. 

Christopher Park
Rédaction santé gaie
Geneva (Switzerland) 
E-mail: xtophe@hivnet.ch

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