Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Ban To Reverse HIV/AIDS Gains Says PEPFAR

THE recently appointed leader of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Ambassador Dr. John N. Nkengasong says the recent move by the Ugandan government to pass a bill that makes identifying as LGBT a crime punishable by death, was not only inhuman but jeopardizes HIV efforts.

By Michael Gwarisa

According to results of the 2020 Uganda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (UPHIA), the current prevalence of HIV among adults aged 15 to 49 years in Uganda is 5.5 percent.

However in Uganda, it is estimated that  there are approximately 310,000 key populations or populations at high risk of HIV; of whom 22,000 are men who have sex with other men. Approximately 25 percent of new HIV infections in Uganda are among key populations and their partners.

Through his Microblogging platform, Ambassador Nkengasong said the recent move by the Ugandan government would reverse gains that have been attained in as far as eliminating and reducing HIV is concerned.

PEPFAR’s annual HIV/AIDS response investment in Uganda is $400M. Passage of the Anti-homosexuality Act jeopardizes efforts to end HIV/AIDS, achieve health equity & risks the lives of LGBTQI+ individuals & other key populations that need lifesaving treatment/prevention services,” said Ambassador Nkengasong.

Speaking at the launch of the Uganda HIV/AIDS Legal Environment Assessment for Key Populations report a few months back, U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Natalie Brown said a conducive legal and policy environment is necessary for continued progress toward HIV epidemic control in Uganda.

“A conducive legal and policy environment is necessary for continued progress toward HIV epidemic control. Uganda needs laws, regulations, policies, and practices that are free of discrimination and are all-inclusive and responsive to the unique needs of populations at greatest risk of HIV infection and transmission.  Why is this important when we’re talking about health?,” said Ambassador Brown.

She added that Uganda has achieved tremendous progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and epidemic control is almost within sight.

“However, we still have some distance to go, and that will require a lot of work.  As we approach epidemic control, no one can be left behind, especially not key populations who are often stigmatized and face discrimination.  This includes men who have sex with men, transgender persons, sex workers, people who inject drugs, and people in prisons and other confined settings.  These vulnerable populations are often the most difficult to reach because of the unfair way they are treated.”

Data show that key populations bear the highest burden of HIV.  Globally, such individuals and their partners constitute approximately 70 percent of new HIV infections.

Related posts

Leave a Comment