SOUTH AFRICA TO PROVIDE AIDS DRUGS
At long last, South Africa will provide anti-HIV drugs to people with AIDS.
The government and the health ministry have withheld the drugs for 15 years, arguing alternatively that they are too expensive, that they are too toxic, and that HIV may not be the cause of AIDS.
One in five South African adults is HIV-positive and 600 die of AIDS each day. The drugs should become available in October.
The anti-treatment stance came under heavy fire from the media and international delegates during South Africa's first national AIDS conference held in early August in Durban.
SKINHEADS ATTACK STOCKHOLM PRIDE
One man was hospitalized after around 30 skinheads attacked marchers in Stockholm's gay-pride parade with rocks and bottles Aug. 2.
The skinheads reportedly carried banners reading, 'Crush pedophiles.'
A recent ad campaign by gay groups featuring photos of gay activists when they were children has caused controversy.
Police made about 15 arrests and relocated several groups of skinheads out of the city center for the duration of the parade.
The meeting is scheduled for mid-October.
AUSSIE P.M. OPPOSES GAY MARRIAGE
Australian Prime Minister John Howard nixed the idea of same-sex marriage.
'Marriage, as we understand it in our society, is about children: having children, raising them, providing for the survival of the species,' he said.
In reporting on the comments, the Australian daily The Age noted that Australia, like many other nations, is seeing a lesbian 'baby boom.'
'There is increasing evidence that homosexuals are going forth and multiplying,' the paper said.
MEXICO TO PROVIDE AIDS DRUGS
Mexican President Vicente Fox said Aug. 5 that the government will begin paying for anti-AIDS drugs for everyone who needs them.
At present, only about 10,000 poor people are receiving the treatments at government expense, reports said.
The Health Department estimates that up to 177,000 Mexicans are HIV-positive.
ACTIVISTS FILE COMPLAINT
Thirteen gay activists in Saint John, New Brunswick, filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against their federal member of Parliament, Elsie Wayne, Aug. 11, charging she is discriminating against them by refusing to meet with them.
Wayne, a Tory, upset gays May 8 when she blurted out in the House of Commons: 'Why are they in parades? Why are they dressed up as women on floats? They do not see us getting up on the floats, for heaven's sake, to say we are husband and wife. We do not do that. Why do they have to go around trying to get a whole lot of publicity? If they are going to live together, they can go live together and shut up about it. There is not any need for this nonsense whatsoever and we should not have to tolerate it in Canada.'
Wayne also refused to attend Saint John's first gay-pride parade this summer, which was organized in response to her outburst.
UZBEK GAY JOURNALIST JAILED
Openly gay Uzbek journalist Ruslan Sharipov, 25, pleaded guilty Aug. 13 to sodomy, sex with minors and running a brothel, and was sent to jail for five and one-half years.
Sharipov previously had declared his innocence but fired his lawyers and admitted guilt after officials threatened to harm his mother.
'He can't do anything to protect himself while she is still in the country because the government keeps threatening to harm her,' said Sara Moore of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
IGLHRC and other human-rights groups believe the charges against Sharipov were concocted to silence his journalistic criticism of police corruption and human-rights abuses. The groups also reported Sharipov has been beaten and tortured while in custody.
'He was probably beaten and destroyed as person if he plead guilty to something he didn't do and was ready before to fight against,' said his brother, Aleksei Sharipov. 'I don't even want to think how they could keep him without food or do something—maybe say that something can happen to his mother to be able to break his will. I lived there and I know that country and [the] Uzbek way of democracy. I every day say thanks to God that I had [the] chance to move to [the] USA.'
In a letter to Uzbek president Islam Karimov, Reporters Without Borders charged, 'Everything indicates that Sharipov was arrested on false and sordid pretenses designed to rid the authorities of a bothersome, dissident voice.'
Only three of the 15 former Soviet republics still ban gay sex—Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
MARRIAGE CASE ADVANCES IN COSTA RICA
A gay lawyer has filed suit before Costa Rica's Constitutional Court seeking the right to marry his lover.
Yashin Castrillo Fernández launched the action July 20 after a family court ruled against him. In a separate action, the family-court decision is being appealed as well.
Under present Costa Rican law, anyone who marries someone of the same gender is subject to a prison sentence of six months to three years.
Castrillo says Article 14 of the Family Code and Article 176 of the Penal Code violate the constitutional guarantee of equality.