“They put their lives in jeopardy by being responsible young men attending an HIV / STI screening clinic.”
Nine young gay men remain homeless and at risk of violence in the countryside of western Uganda, afraid to return home after escaping from a mob that threatened to attack them because of their sexual orientation.
As reported here in January, the mob pursued the youths after they attended an HIV / STI screening on Jan. 15 at an outreach medical clinic.
Police took them into custody for five days, subjected them to anal examinations, then released them with nowhere to go. They all returned back to their own towns, to the same places that wanted them dead. But, they could not safely return to their homes as they had been exposed as gay. Suddenly homeless, some hid in the area’s agricultural plantations.
An international plea for financial assistance fell on deaf ears, and the local clinic that organised the testing has no money to provide them with a safe house or money for relocation.
The boys are still on the run, and homeless now for over a month, never having imagined the consequences of going for HIV / STI testing. They put their lives in jeopardy by being responsible young men attending an HIV / STI screening clinic.
Some planned to travel to Nairobi to seek refuge, but that avenue was closed when the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) temporarily halted registrations of new Ugandan refugees. They are stuck in Uganda. They are to report back to police on March 3.
The article on Jan. 27 appealed to readers for urgent financial assistance, because although the RHF (Rainbow Health Foundation) Clinic has the human resources to counsel these suddenly homeless youth, it has no funds even for basic emergency shelter.
The fundraising effort failed. Only about US $150 was raised. The clinic’s director Dismus Kevin Aine, nonetheless thanked those few donors who contributed. “At least a few people care. Thanks,” he said.
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