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Being Gay during a Pandemic in Africa

The LGBT community in Nigeria exists as a heterogenous group, where interactions occur in discrete bubbles across digital platforms. But amid the coronavirus pandemic, members are forging solidarity and dealing with their communal anxieties through virtual hangouts. Olumide Makanjuola, a sexual health and rights activist, is most concerned about the effect of the outbreak and lockdown on the most vulnerable. “I think of persons who are living with HIV in communities, like LGBTIQ, sex workers and Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) whose access to health is mostly through niche, non-governmental organisations.” Although Nigeria has closed its air borders to decelerate the spread of coronavirus, essential flights purveying medical supplies and drugs can still enter the country, but not without delays from donors as they are also navigating lockdowns in their own terrains. But the ease in lockdown for the time being, starting from May 4, is a welcome development and could help as many LGBT Nigerians with HIV access healthcare, without the initial obstacles.