Jamaica: Police Violence Fuels AIDS EpidemicQuote has been trimmed
(New York, November 16, 2004) - Widespread violence and discrimination against gay men and people living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica is undermining government measures to combat the country’s fast-growing epidemic, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.
"Until Jamaica addresses the epidemic of homophobic violence, it will have no hope against the epidemic of HIV/AIDS. If the Jamaican government is serious about fighting the country’s AIDS epidemic, it should stop promoting brutality against gay men and lesbians and start protecting them from abuse."
Rebecca Schleifer, researcher with Human Rights Watch’s HIV/AIDS Program
The 79-page report, “Hated to Death: Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic,” documents extensive police persecution of people suspected of homosexual conduct, as well as sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS. Gay men and people living with HIV/AIDS face serious violence, and are often forced to abandon their homes and communities. Health workers often provide them with inadequate healthcare or deny them treatment altogether.
Many people in Jamaica still believe that HIV is transmitted by air or casual contact. Widespread homophobia and discrimination are effectively undermining the government response to HIV/AIDS, Human Rights Watch said.