Posts Tagged 'AIDS'

Statement from Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, on the Passage of the HIV Prevention and Control Act by the Ugandan Parliament

From The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

I am deeply concerned by yesterday’s passage of the HIV Prevention and Control Act by the Ugandan Parliament. From all reports, among the legislation’s most troubling provisions is the criminalization of “attempted transmission of HIV” and “intentional transmission of HIV” with penalties of up to ten years imprisonment. In addition, the bill makes HIV testing mandatory for pregnant women, their partners, and in cases of rape and allows for disclosure of a person’s HIV status under a court order without consent.

Over the past 30 years, we have witnessed time and again how stigma, discrimination, and fear – and the misguided policies that stem from them – further fuel the epidemic by deterring those most in need from accessing lifesaving HIV prevention, treatment, and care services. We have also learned from experience that creating programs that respect and uphold the dignity of every human being and provide care to all who need it not only increases the numbers of people who access HIV services but also decreases the numbers of new HIV infection. The cause and effect are clear.

We are at a critical juncture in the fight against HIV/AIDS. After three decades of hard won progress against the disease the dream of an AIDS-free generation is within our grasp. The good news is that we know what works. We have developed and implemented effective HIV prevention programs and are providing lifesaving treatment to millions of people in Uganda and around the world. The bad news is that a return to antiquated, discriminatory, and non-science based approaches to preventing and controlling the epidemic will quickly erode all the hard won gains we have made.

Ironically, Uganda was one of the first countries in Africa to break the silence on HIV/AIDS. The leadership of President Museveni, the Ugandan Parliament, and the extraordinary community response across the country was the exemplar of best public health practice. These efforts were also grounded in compassion, social justice, and access for all. The HIV bill passed yesterday, alongside the recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act, threaten to undermine that legacy of leadership and drive an already expanding epidemic in the country.

I join with the many health practitioners, HIV/AIDS and human rights activists, multilateral institutions, and individuals everywhere – in Uganda and around the world – in calling for the people and the Government of Uganda to reject this regressive bill. Sound public health, an effective HIV/AIDS response, and the protection of fundamental human rights demand it – and the lives of millions of Ugandans are at stake.

UNAIDS expresses deep concern over impact of Ugandan bill on the rights of gay men

Press Statement from UNAIDS

If signed into law the controversial bill would toughen punishments against gay people in Uganda

GENEVA, 18 February 2014—UNAIDS is deeply concerned about a bill in Uganda that would further toughen punishments against gay men.

The controversial bill, which was passed by the country’s parliament in December 2013, calls for a 14-year jail term for a first conviction, and imprisonment for life for the offence of ‘aggravated homosexuality’. The signing of the bill into law would have serious human rights implications.

“Uganda was the first country in Africa to break the conspiracy of silence on AIDS—and to give voice to the most marginalized—but now I am scared that this bill will take Uganda backwards, relinquishing its leadership role in the AIDS response,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “I strongly urge the Ugandan authorities to reject the bill and ensure the human rights and dignity of all people in Uganda.”

The bill also has public health implications; studies show that when gay people face discrimination including abuse, incarceration and prosecution—they are less likely to seek HIV testing, prevention and treatment services.

In 2012, there were 1.5 million people living with HIV in Uganda and 140 000 new HIV infections. Globally gay men are around 13 times more likely to become infected with HIV than the general population, emphasizing the urgent need to ensure safe access to HIV prevention and treatment services for all people everywhere.

UNAIDS urges the government of Uganda, and all governments around the world, to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people through repealing criminal laws against adult consensual same sex sexual conduct; implementing laws to protect people from violence and discrimination; promoting campaigns that address homophobia and transphobia; and ensuring access to health services including HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.

Uganda headed toward passing draconian anti-gay legislation

Repost from The Washington Blade

Movement on a draconian anti-gay bill in Uganda is raising concerns the legislation may be headed toward passage in the coming weeks, although it’s questionable whether the infamous death penalty provision remains in the bill.

Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality in the United States, said the legislation — which has drawn the ire of the international community for its proposed incarceration of gay people and concerns it would institute the death penalty for homosexual acts — seems likely headed for a floor vote in the coming weeks before the legislature adjourns on Dec. 14.

“All indications are that it’s really going to come up for a vote this time,” Bromley said. “We hear from several sources that it won’t come up until at least mid-week next week and probably maybe even a little bit later, but everyone we’ve talked to is pretty concerned that it really is going to come for a vote before the parliament recesses for the holidays, so sometime before mid-December.”

Media reports indicated that the bill on Friday had passed the committee of jurisdiction in the Uganda parliament.

Frank Mugisha, an activist coordinating Sexual Minorities Uganda, issued a statement to supporters on Friday decrying the legislation just before the committee acted on it.

“The bill does little more than to entrench stigma and prejudice, which will polarize the Ugandan society further and undermine public health efforts to combat the spread of HIV,” Mugisha said. “It places a total ban on public discussion of an issue whose existence cannot be wished away. If the bill is adopted, it will make Uganda a pariah in the international community. We therefore urge the Ugandan Parliament to reject this bill in its entirety.” Continue Reading

Scope of Interagency Influence and Authority

The Council for Global Equality - Scope of Interagency Influence and AuthorityOver the past three days, we’ve laid out a number of key issues to be grappled with as the U.S. government meshes its foreign assistance programs with the goals laid out in the President’s December 6 memorandum and in Secretary Clinton’s speech the same day. These issues will require more than energy and thought: they will require clear and determined support from department and agency leaders, which we trust will be given.

As referenced earlier, USAID’s development assistance programs represent, in fact, only part of a larger set of assistance programs scattered across the U.S. government. The President’s memorandum references a baker’s dozen agencies that have such programs. Apart from USAID, two of our largest assistance programs were established under the Bush Administration: the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which we mentioned in yesterday’s blog, was established as a government corporation under the direction of a public/private board; PEPFAR, which operates under the Secretary of State’s oversight, oversees our international HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. Smaller grass-roots development assistance programs are managed by the Inter-American Foundation and the African Development Foundation. Even the Pentagon carries discretionary funding that can buttress our overseas development assistance efforts. Continue reading ‘Scope of Interagency Influence and Authority’

Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSM

amFAR John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health  Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSDownload Reports in PDF format below

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Cub Barrett, Program Communications Manager
(212) 806-1602

NEW YORK, January 18, 2012—Funding to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS consistently fails to reach programs designed to control the disease among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a new analysis released Wednesday by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights (CPHHR) at Johns Hopkins University. The report finds that resources dedicated to addressing the epidemic among MSM are grossly insufficient, and that funding intended for this population is often diverted away from MSM-related services.

Despite Obama Administration leadership in setting bold new targets to tackle global AIDS and highlight the human rights of MSM and other sexual minorities, U.S. government aid intended to prevent and treat HIV infection among MSM continues to encounter obstacles throughout the world.

The new report, “Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSM,” provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of HIV-related funding and programming for this population. Focusing on eight countries, the report finds that national governments have failed to adequately tackle the epidemic among MSM. The findings are especially dire in countries that criminalize MSM. In those settings, governments spend fewer resources on HIV-related health services for MSM, do less to track and understand the epidemic, and are more likely to repurpose donor funds intended to fight the epidemic among MSM. Continue reading ‘Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSM’

Secretary Clinton “Creating an AIDS-free Generation”

Watch Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s address an audience at the National Institute of Health on working towards an AIDS-free generation. You can also read her remarks here.

Update: Read the blog posting “Secretary Clinton: Thank You, and More, Please” written by Zoe Hudson, Senior Policy Analyst with Open Society Foundations

LGBT trends in Africa

In the context of Secretary Clinton’s recent speech on LGBT rights, where she emphatically declared that “gay rights are human rights” and welcomed four LGBT activists from Africa to the State Department, it is important to reflect on the hostile view of LGBT rights that dominates the discourse in many parts of Africa.

Follow the links to read these two recent articles on LGBT trends in Africa by two notable South African commentators.
Homosexuality and the battle for Africa’s soul

by Mark Gevisser |Mail&Guardian |http://www.mg.co.za/

LGBTI* Freedom and Equality in Africa: a Different South African Perspective

Page 4 | By Zackie Achmat | International AIDS Society | http://www.iasociety.org/


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