ONE of the world’s leading bioethics publications, Developing World Bioethics Journal, says Jamaicans are making it difficult for men who have sex with men (MSM) to be monogamous. The publication also suggested that Health Minister Rudyard Spencer is unhappy with the fact that his government “continues to support legislation that contributes significantly to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS among MSM”.
Following are excerpts from the recently published article:
“It is tempting to feel sorry for Jamaica’s Health Minister, the Hon Rudyard Spencer. There he is, trying his best to do his job, and, among other urgent health matters, reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS in his nation.
Unfortunately, on his own account, this is proving to be next to impossible unless Jamaicans change their cultural attitudes to — you guessed it — sex. The Jamaican Ministry of Health’s website quotes him with these eminently sensible concerns about specific attitudes:
“These include a widely held belief that sex with a virgin can cure HIV/AIDS, the high level of sexual relations between older men and young girls and a persistently hostile anti-gay environment which all contribute to the stigmatisation and discrimination of infected and affected persons. A strong religious culture also inhibits open discussion on matters of sexuality… We too need to begin the process of unlearning those beliefs that endanger the health lives of others and rethinking the tendency to be obscene and degrading in rejecting values that conflict with our own…”