Anti-gay Uganda today (4): Excluding gays from HIV care

This blog’s reports about Uganda on June 18:


Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda's health minister, told the BBC in February that homosexuals will not be discriminated in health care despite the new law. (Photo courtesy of the UN)
Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda’s health minister, told the BBC in February that homosexuals will not be discriminated in health care despite the new law. (Photo courtesy of the UN)

Uganda continues its campaign against the local LGBTI community:
Denial of medical care to LGBTI people — an under-reported crisis

Uganda has started excluding LGBTI people from health care in direct contradiction to Health Minister Ruhakana Rugunda’s promise that it would not do so.
Except for a widely publicized raid on a health clinic serving LGBTI people, little has been reported on the latest developments.
Immediately after it was raided by police in March, the Walter Reed clinic was closed. That HIV research facility run by the U.S. military and Makerere University had been one of relatively few health-care facilities in Kampala that served LGBTI people. When the clinic reopened in April, it had dropped its services to men who have sex with men (MSM). As this blog reported on May 20:
Logo du Projet Walter Reed de l'Université de Makerere
Logo of the Makerere University Walter Reed Project, which was raided by Ugandan police.

“The clinic is no longer serving MSM directly, but has made arrangements for those HIV-positive patients to receive necessary medication elsewhere, two Ugandan activists said.  The project also has not resumed the research it was conducting on how best to reduce the spread of HIV infection among high-risk groups, including MSM, they said.
“An additional problem is that the MSM patients must pose as heterosexuals in order to receive their anti-retroviral medication at the new location, one activist said.”

So far, that report on that U.S.-backed clinic’s decision to eliminate its medical care for HIV-positive LGBTI people in Kampala attracted little attention. Outside of this blog, apparently only one person has been working to explore the story further.

The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle with the Executive Committee of the Good Samaritan Consortium in Uganda.
In better times, last year, this meeting of the Executive Committee of the Good Samaritan Consortium was an exuberant affair.

Meanwhile, this blog is looking into a tip that another Kampala clinic that served LGBTI people in Uganda may also shut down. [Follow-up: It didn’t.]
The new law has also created difficulties for the straight- and gay-friendly Good Samaritan Consortium, which last year had been seeking sustainable funding for a coalition of 14 health-service providers who would work with vulnerable populations in Uganda, including MSM, LGBT, IV drug users and commercial sex workers.
Now that the Anti-Homosexuality Act is in place, members of the consortium only meet in pairs, rather than as a group, for fear that they could be accused of violating the law’s provisions against aiding homosexuality or sponsoring “homosexuality or other related activities.”
Related articles from the O-blog-dee blog:

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 [email protected]

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