Kenya gears up for homosexual census

NAIROBI: Kenya is to carry out a census of its gay population in an effort to bolster the fight against HIV/AIDS, despite homosexuality being against the law.

Nicholas Muraguri, head of Kenya’s AIDS prevention programme Nascop, said that it was vital that the government reached out to the gay community.

He said gay people suffered from a lack of information about the disease.

But analysts say many gay people will be afraid to come forward in a country where homosexuality can result in jail.

Muraguri conceded that an accurate count was unlikely. But he said that getting a clearer idea of the number of gay people would be a huge help with targeted interventions such as provision of condoms. He explained that he survey would involve gay men identifying each other, and officials carrying out HIV tests and providing along with information on safe sexual practice. “Kenyans cannot actually afford to say that the gay community is isolated somewhere in the corner — they are part of our lives,” he said.

The census, which will begin in June, will be the first of its kind in Africa.