News 4 days ago

Tanzania stops 40 health centers from offering AIDS services

The Associated Press — By SYLIVESTER DOMASA - Associated Press

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) — Tanzania's government has stopped 40 privately run health centers from providing AIDS-related services, accusing them of catering to homosexuals in a country where gay sex is criminalized.

It is the latest move by this East African country to crack down on the activities of homosexuals.

The government believes that non-governmental organizations are using some health centers to promote gay sex, Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said Thursday while announcing the restrictions.

In Tanzania, gay sex is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Around two-thirds of African countries criminalize consensual same-sex sexual conduct, according to Amnesty International.

The HIV rate among gay men in Tanzania stands at 30 percent, according to government figures.

The health minister also announced that the government was expanding HIV/AIDs services at 3,000 other health centers across the country.

The news comes about six months after the government threatened to deregister pro-gay civic groups it said were harmful to the "culture of Tanzanians."

In September, the government temporarily suspended HIV/AIDs outreach projects targeting gay men.