The men were arrested only days after Senegal served as the host for the 15th International Conference on AIDS and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) in Africa (ICASA). Presentations at this conference pointed out the apparent contradiction in some countries, such as Senegal, which target HIV/AIDS-prevention efforts at populations of men of who have sex with men but continue to criminalize same-sex relations. Advocates working in HIV and AIDS prevention point out that such an approach necessarily drives the targeted populations underground and mitigates the efficacy of HIV intervention efforts.
These charges will have a chilling effect on AIDS programs. Outreach workers and people seeking HIV prevention or treatment should not have to worry about police persecution. Senegal should drop these charges and repeal its sodomy law.
– Scott Long, director of Human Rights Watch’s lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender rights program