Anti-gay Uganda today (2): Warning about HIV bill

This blog’s reports about Uganda on June 18:

Uganda continues its campaign not just against the local LGBTI community but also, in this case, against everyone who could be exposed to HIV infection:

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act on Feb. 24, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Anti-AIDS battle at risk
Ugandans are awaiting the decision of President Yoweri Museveni on whether he will sign the HIV Prevention and Management Bill, which contains provisions that public health experts say would interfere with efforts to persuade people to get tested for HIV.
In particular, the bill would make it a crime punishable by 10 years in prison to “wilfully and intentionally” infect someone with  HIV — a charge that could be brought against any HIV-positive person who has unprotected sexual relations, but only if that person knows he or she is HIV-positive.
Experts see that provision as a disincentive to HIV testing. Their argument grew stronger this week, with news from  Zambia that an attempt to require HIV testing had backfired. The Times of Zambia reported:

“Zambia: HIV/AIDS Testing ‘Scaring Away’ Pregnant Women
“LIVINGSTONE — District medical officer Cliff Hara has observed that most pregnant women in the district have been avoiding antenatal services because of compulsory HIV/AIDS testing for the women and their spouses.
“Dr Hara said some health centres, including Maramba Clinic, had seen a decrease in women going to receive antenatal services because the women were forced to go to the clinics together with their spouses and the HIV testing was mandatory to the couple.
“He said health personnel in the clinics had noted the development and had since decided to stop the compulsory HIV testing on spouses.
“Dr Hara said the practice, which was well intended, met some resistance from some pregnant women and men, with women going to an extent of going with fake husbands to undergo testing.”

In Uganda, the HIV infection rate is about 6.5 percent overall, but 12.4 percent to 32.9 percent for men who have sex with men.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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Anti-gay Uganda today (1): Activist due in court

Anti-gay Uganda today (3): A goof that won't go away