HIV infection is associated with an increased risk of melanoma, according to the results of a meta-analysis published in PLOS ONE. Overall, people living with HIV had a 26% increase in their relative risk of melanoma compared to the general population, the risk increasing by 50% for white-skinned people with HIV. The increased risk was statistically significant in white-skinned people diagnosed with HIV and of borderline statistical significance for all people diagnosed with HIV.
Health4Men, a project of the Anova Health Institute that addresses sexual health and HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM), congratulates sexual minority activists in Uganda for successfully challenging and getting overturned the country’s homophobic ‘Anti-Homosexuality Act’. As widely reported, this draconian Act not only resulted in a dramatic increase in persecution of sexual minorities within Uganda, it also severely limited the ability of HIV health organisations to function within the country.
After widespread international condemnation from activists and governments across the globe, it was ultimately up to nine Ugandan Petitioners of the Court (including Health4Men’s Dr Paul Semugoma) to get the Act unanimously ruled unconstitutional by the Ugandan Constitutional Court.
We must however be vigilant to make sure that a new Act is not passed in Uganda. As Dr Semugoma stated: “Uganda remains a very homophobic country. Even with the support of the Ugandan Constitutional Court behind us, we must be aware that social acceptance of same-sex desire remains extremely low and the possibility of a new Bill being tabled remains extremely high.”
Anova’s research has highlighted how homophobia can have huge implications for sexual minority health and exposure to HIV in Africa. As the project’s Dr Andrew Tucker has pointed out: “Homophobia in society can drastically limit the ability of sexual minority groups being able to access competent HIV medical care and dramatically increase the likelihood of sexual minorities needing such medical care to begin with. Homophobia must be stopped.”
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