The National AIDS Council says it is developing strategies that will increase access to treatment for gays and lesbians that are living with HIV in Zambia.
NAC Director of Programmes Harold Witola said the Council has since applied for funds from the Global Fund to ensure that gays and lesbians in Zambia have access to medical services.
In an interview, NAC Director of Programmes Harold Witola said health care providers will undergo re-training on how to administer health services to people of different sexual orientation.
‘If we are fortunate that we get the support that we have applied for from the Global Funds, we should be seeing a bit of activity going into next year in terms of agreeing with service providers, retraining our service providers because it is this notion that these people don’t exist or they are a figment of peoples imagination and that some health workers are really not prepared when they finally meet these people,’ Dr Witola said.
He added, ‘We really need to retrain and reorient our health care providers so that they alert that these people do exist and that they have challenges and that their needs are slightly different from the needs of the general population and even the way we approach them is slightly different but the bottom line is that it is a human being life just like any other human being.’
Dr. Witola has stressed that the provision of health services is not meant to promote homosexuality but to provide quality health services irrespective of one’s sexual orientation.
‘One thing i should emphasise is that as NAC, we don’t promote the lifestyle, or for instance gayism, lesbianism or whatever it is that is not our business, we don’t promote the lifestyle but we promote public health approach and you know public health is a human right,’ he said.
Dr Witola said, ‘Everyone has the right to quality health care services, it doesn’t matter who they are, do for us, that is our concern that we will not let people be ravaged by infection because we are differently oriented and we bury our heads in the sand and pretend that nothing is happening, suppose you discover that it is your son, suppose it is your daughter getting married to such a one.’