NYBC has been, where and as it can, helping our friends at the Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe as well friends at the Blue Diamond Society in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Recently, Super Nutrition sent us a donation of vitamins that we immediately turned around and sent off to these two organizations. We are grateful that such high quality products are getting some play around the world: healthcare is a RIGHT. And we know a multi is a significant part of managing HIV disease. The clinical data unequivocally support the use of a multi, whether using antiretrovirals or not. (And yes, NYBC disagrees with the notion proposed by some that either ARV or a multi are the only things one needs; neither position is very intelligent!)
In other news, Blue Diamond Society has been working to find housing for people with HIV who have been removed from their clinic by a homophobic and AIDSphobic landlord. An all-too-familiar story around the world.
If you can help NYBC with donations either of vitamins/supplements or cash to help our friends, it would be greatly appreciated! NYBC’s sister organization, FIAR, is accepting any funds earmarked to help out the Nepali situation. More information below:
HIV & AIDS Hospice
Concept note for the purchase of a building
Kathmandu, March 21 (IANS) Twelve men diagnosed with AIDS, four of whom are terminally ill and unable to walk, were thrown out and the AIDS hospice and care centre run for them shut down in Nepal due to the prevailing anti-gay bias, without any human rights group intervening on their behalf. Just as Nepal’s sexual minorities were celebrating the community’s first participation in a national election as contestants, the AIDS hospice run in Kathmandu for homosexuals by Nepal’s pioneer gay rights organisation was closed down Thursday night by the landlord after pressure from the neighbours.
Despite significant progress in recent years on policy and awareness, society’s stigma and discrimination towards males who have sex with males and transgender people (MSM/TG) in Nepal remains. This prejudice is compounded when MSM/TG are infected with HIV and Blue Diamond Society’s (BDS) Care & Support programme has been severely challenged in finding accommodation for its HIV & AIDS Hospice. To remove the obstacle of landlord’s prejudice, BDS believes it is necessary to purchase its own premises for Hospice/Care & Support activities.
Government estimates put the number of MSM/TG in Nepal at 130,000 although BDS’ and regional/international experience suggests it is closer to 500,000. Official studies show an HIV prevalence rate of 3-4% indicating an MSM/TG population living with HIV & AIDS in excess of 4,000. Many of these have been rejected by their families and society and it became clear to BDS that they needed care and support from their own community who understood their sexuality/gender, could provide compassionate care and give them access to health services without discrimination. With the support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation (UK) and Sidaction (France), BDS in 2005 opened a hospice centre in Kathmandu. MSM/TG from all over Nepal have made use of this facility and, in two and half years, over 700 MSM/TG living with HIV & AIDS have been supported by staff, many of whom are themselves HIV positive, and been given counselling, care and medical treatment. During the 6 months ended 30 September 2007, despite only having 7 proper beds, a total of 94 MSM/TG were accommodated (on mattresses on the floor when all beds were full) at the Hospice for periods ranging from 1 day to several months. However this work has been severely hampered by being forced to move premises 4 times in 2½ years as landlords, often pressured by neighbours offended by the presence of MSM/TG and HIV+ staff and clients, refuse to extend short-term leases leading to eviction. It has become more difficult to find suitable premises and following the last eviction on 20 March 2008, staff and 12 patients have been forced to find a temporary home in a meeting room at BDS’ office.
To overcome discrimination by landlords and the disruption of frequent moves, BDS believes it is necessary to purchase its own building for Hospice/Care & Support activities. This building would provide a stable and secure base from which to continue the following existing activities of BDS Care & Support:
Hospice facility (15 beds minimum)
Medical check up and monitoring
HIV testing and counseling
Opportunistic Infection treatment
Co infection treatment
Anti Retroviral Therapy facilitation
Ambulance service to access hospital services
Training (for self-care and treatment etc) and stress reduction workshops
Food and logistical support
Running costs would continue to be funded by existing donors and/or new ones.
Estimated Budget (US dollars)
Buying the building (depends on the location) 100,000 – 150,000
Furnishing and equipment 50,000
Setting up cost 5,000
Total US$ 155,000 – 205,000
We would be more than happy to submit full proposal in necessary once we have a positive indication from you.
Sunil Babu Pant
Blue Diamond Society
Blue Diamond Society is Nepal’s leading community based organisation representing sexual and gender minorities. It seeks to convince Nepali society to respect the human rights of its community members and to empower them to advocate for these rights and deliver HIV & AIDS programmes for themselves.