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Sudan: Anal sex in schools to blame for rise in HIV cases

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — A report on Sudan's Blue Nile TV features a health ministry doctor who says there's an "alarming" increase in anal sex in schools, with senior students forcing younger ones to have sex with them in toilets, leading to the spread of AIDS, Gay Star News reports.

According to the report, leaders in the political opposition are now accusing the government of creating an education system that promotes homosexuality and AIDS. One government critic suggests the main reason for the growth in rates of infection can be traced to the increase in the number of primary-level grades — from six to eight — a move that has led "older teenage homosexuals" to take advantage of younger students.

But the chair of advocacy group Rainbow Sudan says "ignorance more than anything else" is to blame for viral transmission. "It has nothing to do with homosexuality or age differences," says Mohammad, who is referred to by only one name in the report. "If the government and political opposition are serious about tackling Sudan’s growing HIV infection rates, then safer sex education is the key."

Sexual minorities are being used as scapegoats in a politically motivated contest of wills between government and opposition, Mohammad explains. "I guess now we are being used to kick around in an attempt to confuse and win public opinion by both sides. And yet nothing will be done about HIV infection, which many examples show benefits from the lack of education, ignorance and homophobia that both the government and its critics champion."

Same-sex relations are illegal in Sudan, with punishments ranging from the death penalty, to lashes and imprisonment, the report says. 

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