The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA), expresses sincere gratitude to the manner in which the National AIDS Council (NAC) dealt with the issues brought to the fore through its presentation of findings of a 2008 study on Men who have sex with other men (MSM) on Friday 4 June 2010.
Ms. Felistus Motimedi, the Coordinator of BONELA’s Prevention and Research Initiative for Sexual Minorities, said, “BONELA is grateful to the NAC for the opportunity to present on an issue that has long been regarded as contentious, and highly commends the progressiveness in thinking exhibited by the leadership and other stakeholders present, who willingly engaged in the discussion on MSM and called for tolerance, non-discrimination and a holistic approach to service delivery to these individuals. This is a vast shift in the mindset as well as attitudes by Batswana and it is the hope of BONELA that this will be manifested in the larger society.”
In particular, BONELA was impressed by former President Mr. Festus Mogae’s leadership on the day, who spoke knowledgeably on issues that leaders are unable to openly discuss due to influence of societal belief. Ms. Motimedi added that, “We are also heartened by the Minister of Health, Reverend who passionately called for the provision of condoms, arguing that we should stop being in denial of same sex sexual activities going on in our communities as we will later regret this. We are also proud of our partners in civil society and faith-based organizations who diligently brought issues to the fore, enlightening leaders with certain aspects and supporting our cause.”
As a direct product of the meeting, Mr. Mogae called for a motion regarding these issues, upon which the Council resolved that the Minister of Health move a motion Cabinet for the provision of condoms in prisons and tolerance by health care service providers.