Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kenya to launch homosexual census

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, told the BBC 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. Mr Muraguri conceded that an accurate count was unlikely. “ Kenyans cannot actually afford to say that the gay community are isolated somewhere in the corner ” Nascop's Nicholas Muraguri

But he told the BBC's Network Africa programme 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 said the 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 are isolated somewhere in the corner - they are part of our lives," he said. "This group must be reached with information and services so they know how to protect themselves from getting infected."

Analysts say Kenya has made progress in its fight against HIV/Aids - one-in-10 people had the virus in the late 1990s, a rate that has now fallen to 6%. The BBC's Gladys Njoroge in Nairobi says the census, which will begin in June next year, will be the first of its kind in Africa. But Kenyans are divided over its impact, with some Nairobi residents saying they did not believe it would help control the spread of Aids.

Gay Kenyans told the BBC they would be willing to be counted - but only if their identities were protected. Homosexual activity is punishable by up to 14 years in jail in Kenya.


  1. How on earth is this one going to work? Any Kenyans have some details for us? How do you perform a census of an "illegal" population? It's like illegal immigrants queuing up for a friendly census in America or France...yeah right!

  2. Well it beats me too. There is absolutely no need for a census if you ask me. If the aim of identifying them is to carry out HIV tests and providing information on safe practice, carry out a national campaign. Isn't it all citizens who would need this kind of intervention?????? Do we need a census to determine who needs information on HIV? It affects all and not a select few. Census or no census inform the citizens on HIV, after all the gays are citizens too. The info will certainly reach them.Its not like they are hiding in the closet(no pun intended)