WASHINGTON (December 23, 2013) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) urges Ugandan President Museveni not to sign legislation further criminalizing homosexuality, which passed in without a quorum and was not agendized.
Legislation passed on Friday by the Ugandan Parliament will do further damage to Uganda’s faltering efforts to control the spread of HIV. Numerous scientific studies have documented that laws criminalizing adult sexual activity of any kind drive populations underground and cause them not to seek testing or treatment.
Uganda, once the world leader in HIV prevention, has seen a significant rise in HIV infections over the last several years. This bill, if signed, will cause infection rates to rise in the general population since a large percentage of men-who-have-sex-with-men also have sex with women.
AHF has been a close partner with the Uganda Ministry of Health in testing and treating hundreds of thousands of Ugandans. Recently, AHF purchased a building in Kampala for more than $5 million to house prevention, testing, treatment and administrative functions. AHF’s eleven nation Africa Bureau is headquartered in Kampala.
AHF recognizes the sovereignty of every country to determine its own policies and their unique culture. However, it is our responsibility, as the largest AIDS organization in the world, to advise governments when their policies are contrary to promoting public health, based on specific scientific evidence. Additionally, Ugandans efforts to attract foreign aid, which have already been hampered by corruption, could be further damaged by international disapproval of these policies from a human rights perspective.
We look forward to continued dialogue with the Ugandan government to ensure that the battle against AIDS in Uganda will someday be won.