Nearly 1,500 leading HIV physicians, nurses, and public health experts expressed deep concern this month about the implications of an anti-gay bill under consideration in the Ugandan Parliament. The bill’s provisions include penalties of life imprisonment, or even death, for same-gender consensual sex acts and threaten imprisonment of individuals who do not report suspected homosexual acts to the police.
The legislation prompted members of HIVMA and the Center for Global Health Policy to send a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, urging him to stop the bill. These disease experts are particularly concerned that the legislation would deal a blow to Uganda’s successful AIDS treatment efforts, deterring an already vulnerable, at-risk population from seeking HIV services out of fear of severe punishment, as well as threatening the health care workers who serve these populations. HIVMA and the Center also issued a press release highlighting these concerns.
“This legislation will violate Ugandans’ human rights and will impede successful efforts in HIV prevention by promoting misinformation suggesting that HIV transmission in Uganda is primarily due to male homosexual behavior,” said Kenneth Mayer, MD, FIDSA, co-chair of the Center for Global Health Policy’s Scientific Advisory Committee and professor at Brown University, where he directs the AIDS program. “This legislation will have a chilling effect on patients’ willingness to seek HIV testing and prevention services, and jeopardizes the fragile gains Uganda has made in combating the AIDS epidemic.”
Read about the Congressional hearing on this issue, including testimony given by Christine Lubinski, IDSA’s vice president of global health, and other global health news at the Center for Global Health Policy’s blog, http://www.sciencespeaks.wordpress.com/.
Recent blog highlights include:
- Highlights of a Q&A session featuring Ann Gavaghan, a top official in the office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, who recently spoke to HIV advocates in Washington about the new five-year strategy for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
- A post about how an “anti-prostitution” provision included in the law that reauthorized PEPFAR might have a chilling effect on efforts to reach vulnerable populations at high risk for HIV infection with treatment, education, and other vital assistance. The Center and HIVMA sent a letter in late 2009 to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius expressing concern about the provision.
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