The HIV infection rate in Uganda is rising again, according to a new survey reported in The New York Times.
The article states:
Uganda’s sharp reduction of its AIDS rate has long been hailed as a Cinderella success story, inspiring a wave of aid programs and public health strategies to fight the disease across the developing world.
But as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived here on Thursday, the news on AIDS in Uganda was not so bright: A new American-financed survey says that Uganda is one of only two African countries, along with Chad, where AIDS rates are on the rise.
Reasons given for the reversal include complacency, corruption and intolerance.
“Uganda’s hard-line approach toward homosexuality, which is outlawed here, also fuels the spread of AIDS, experts say,” the article stated. It quoted HIV-positive AIDS activist and Anglican priest the Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha, who said:
“We have messages confusing what is right with what is safe. If you have an environment that stigmatizes them, then don’t expect people to use condoms.”
Under current Ugandan law, homosexual activity is punishable by life in prison, and the parliament is considering a bill to require citizens to report suspected homosexuals to police.
The stigma against male same-sex activity drives it underground, leading to the creation of a reservoir of infection that can re-infect heterosexual women who sleep with those men. “One report indicated that one-third of the male respondents who had sex with other men [MSM] said they had previously been married to women and fathered children. Fewer than half use condoms,” the article states.
Homosexuals in Uganda are defined as criminals and therefore are often denied health services.
In contrast to the country’s overall HIV infection rate of 7.3 percent, which is up from 6.4 percent in 2005, recent surveys of MSM in Uganda have estimated their HIV rate at 12.4 percent to 32.9 percent.
“Over roughly the same period, the United States, through its AIDS prevention strategy known as Pepfar, or the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, spent $1.7 billion in Uganda to fight AIDS,” the Times reported.
It added, “Adult husbands and wives, not youths or commercial sex workers, are the ones spreading the disease, according to the survey. By their late 30s, roughly one in 10 women now become H.I.V. positive. For men, roughly one in 10 are infected by their early 40s.”
For more information, read the full article “In Uganda, an AIDS Success Story Comes Undone.”
- World Bank may join fight against anti-LGBT bias (76crimes.com)
- AIDS panelist: Disagree on theology, but shun genocide (76crimes.com)
- Ugandan officials wary of new LGBTI clinic (76crimes.com)
- New activist network fights AIDS and anti-LGBT laws (76crimes.com)
- In Uganda, HIV Prevention No Longer Just ABC (voanews.com)