Advocates for people living with HIV/AIDS recently criticized a proposed law in Uganda that would criminalize the deliberate spread of the virus, the New Vision/AllAfrica.com reports. According to the advocates, lawmakers should drop the bill, which currently is being considered by the Parliamentary Committee on HIV/AIDS.
According to Flavia Kyomukama of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, the law would contribute to the spread of HIV and increase stigma against people living with the virus. The government "must protect the citizens in a way that does not put to risk the lives of an already marginalized group," Kyomukama said. Kihumuro Apuuli, director-general of the Uganda AIDS Commission, said the bill is directed at men who are aware of their HIV-positive status and still engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners. According to Apuuli, this population is the biggest driver of HIV/AIDS in Uganda.
Irish Ambassador to Uganda Kevin Kelly -- who represented donors at a meeting to launch a five-year strategic plan issued by the Uganda AIDS Commission -- expressed concerns about how the bill would affect people living with HIV/AIDS but did not condemn the measure, according to the New Vision/AllAfrica.com. He said the proposed legislation should include provisions to protect people living with the virus. Richard Nduhuura, state minister of health, said the intent of the bill is to punish people living with HIV/AIDS who knowingly spread the virus and not to criminalize those simply living with HIV (Mugisa, New Vision/AllAfrica.com, 10/20).
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