A story is currently trending on Facebook about two supposedly gay Nigerian guy who were reportedly caught in the act of homosexuality. Milli, is the guy who, as YBL carried out its investigation, outed Rich and Pepe for supposedly being gay. According to Milli, he has proof that the duo are gay guys.
In a Facebook rant, Milli claims that he was set up by these two guys who went to steal a phone and planted it on him — he was then beaten mercilessly as though he was the one who stole the phone. The gay scene went from being overtly closed to being somewhat open in the past decade. But with the passage of the bill into law, the scene will become hidden.
How long that will be, we don't know. The visibility we've been able to create as a community has again been taken away from us in the name of protecting religion and cultural practices. Some people in Lagos can tell you where LGBT people gather to socialise on a weekend; some can even name the gay-friendly bars around town. Simply put, the gay scene in Lagos was relatively free and peaceful. The law jeopardises that. So there was never any trouble before? In the past we had the police and other security agencies raid gay parties in Lagos.
But that was a long time ago.
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The last raid was about five years ago — at least to my knowledge. LGBT communities usually gathered every now and then to celebrate their sexuality and, at times, the police knew about it.
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However, because there's a law that expressly bans [gay clubs], we should expect to see more raids on gay places of abode, parties and other such events. The main aim is usually not to arrest, but to extort people by blackmailing them. You see, a majority of gays — in a bid to keep their sexuality under wraps and not risk exposure — hardly go out to places that offer homosexual pleasures.
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In fact, I didn't even know there were gay bars and stuff like that until a few years ago. That's how deeply secret these establishments are. In the past, there used to be gay parties with strictly coded invitations, but I've never been to one. I simply hear about them. I'm just much too protective of my identity. Do you think it would be easier for you to live in another country?
It's because it is easier and living is more pleasant. Living as a gay man outside of Nigeria would be the most pleasant thing, but then you think about your country and the country you want to live in. People in other countries fought for the freedoms they now enjoy. They never give up on the idea of a better, egalitarian society. We need to push through and make Nigeria better. Living abroad would not bring the change we need.
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There are a number of reasons why more people are not testing for HIV in Nigeria. These include supply problems with testing kits and logistic issues getting further supplies. There is also a common belief that HTC centres are where HIV-positive people go to access care, rather than them being testing centres for those who don't know their status. A push on the number of sites providing HTC services has resulted in a huge increase, from around 1, in to more than 8, in The plan also hopes to integrate screening for other co-infections into HIV testing and counselling services.
The Minister of Health in Nigeria recently released a statement in support of self-testing. Nigeria has put in place policies that allow for self-testing, but these testing kits are not yet available across the country. They identify strengthening community structures as being a main way to achieve this.
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According to data, The end of term review of the national HIV strategy identified condom uptake as having been a major area of challenge, identifying cost, low availability and resistance to condom promotion from certain key religious and cultural groups to have been some of the main barriers to progress. The review also identified low uptake of lubricants, as having been a key failing, with only The National Strategic Framework aims to increase condom use, particularly among young people and those who have never been married.
PrEP is not available to the general public in Nigeria, however some serodiscordant couples have been able to access the drug through demonstration projects. In , people were on PrEP in Nigeria. Just over a quarter As such, reducing mother-to-child transmission remains a major target area. Of these 23 countries, Nigeria has the second lowest level of ART coverage in pregnant women. The number of pregnant women visiting health facilities remains low, as does the number of health facilities providing PMTCT services, with only 7, health facilities providing PMTCT in It is hoped that large-scale communications like this will encourage women to come forward for testing to prevent their babies being born with HIV.
Poor treatment coverage and adherence means that the number of AIDS-related deaths in the country has remained high with , deaths in Although Nigeria adopted a 'test and treat' policy in , which means that anyone with a positive diagnosis is eligible for treatment, this is far from a reality. Nevertheless, efforts have been made to scale-up treatment access, and , more people were enrolled on antiretroviral treatment between and March Yet weaknesses in the health system exist and create a barrier to many people accessing or staying on treatment.
Even when ART can be accessed, drug supplies are known to run out and cause stockouts. Studies have shown that these fees and high costs of travel to clinics can be a barrier to many people accessing care.
Services offering HIV care have become more scarce in the midst of the conflict. Recent research into the role of civil society in the HIV response in Nigeria revealed that while civil society organisations CSOs play a key role in service delivery and HIV education, they rarely are given the opportunity to directly impact on policy or play a central role in democratic processes. CSOs working with men who have sex with men face further difficulties in even registering as an organisation Although NACA claimed to seek civil society input in the formulation of their last National Strategic Framework, there is currently no civil society forum.
This was identified by the African Commission as being a key action to further protect and promote the human rights of key groups. One of the actions of this proposed group would be the monitoring of the anti-HIV discrimination and stigma bill. Nigeria has the fourth biggest tuberculosis TB epidemic in the world. Nigeria also falls behind when it comes to providing preventative TB treatment. When cases of TB are not reported, active TB is more likely to spread, as more people go untreated. TB can become resistant to drugs when people start treatment, but fail to complete their course or take their medication incorrectly.
This is why counselling around TB treatment is so important. In it was estimated that 4. The national strategic framework identifies certain cultural practices that increase HIV vulnerability among the general population in Nigeria. These include female genital mutilation FGM , denial of women's access to inheritance, widowhood rites, encouragement of multiple sexual partners for males, and marriage of young girls to much older men.
In addition to these stigma remains a key barrier to the HIV response in Nigeria, with In early , President Jonathan signed a new antidiscrimination bill into law which secured the rights of people living with HIV, protecting HIV-positive employees from unfair dismissal and from mandatory HIV testing.