Homophobia and anti-homosexuality laws in several countries hinder treatment of AIDS and fuel the epidemic, experts say.
A CNN story, based on interviews with UNAIDS, experts, and LGBT people have found that containing the AIDS epidemic remains a tremendous challenge, thanks to people's attitudes and indifference toward LGBT people.
Speaking to CNN at the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam this week, she recalled an evening when she walked home through her village and was pelted with bottles by a group of local men. When she reported it to the police, she was told only to let them know if it happened again, she said. On another occasion, she was kicked off a bus for the way she dressed, she said, and used her organization to throw more force at the police this time, eventually taking the driver to court. He pleaded guilty and paid a $70 fine.
Milton is HIV-positive and registers for treatment at a clinic farther from home in order to avoid further discrimination in her area.
Studies have shown that continuously taking antiretroviral drugs can reduce the virus to undetectable levels, but for many LGBT communities – in Guyana and globally – access to services is blocked through the homophobia they face.