USAID Response Fails to Condemn Laws That Criminalize HIV
April 25, 2011
In February, the Update published a piece about how the U.S. government had pumped $35 million into a USAID program that produced a model HIV criminalization law in Africa.
We know these laws typically backfire, discouraging testing and putting many at risk of unjust persecution. In fact, when we wrote the piece, Robert Clay, the director of USAID's Office of HIV/AIDS, told us the U.S. government opposes laws that criminalize HIV non-disclosure.
We were curious about this contradiction -- USAID is putting its money in one place but its words in another -- and asked Clay to provide more information on the federal government's stance on the criminalization of HIV.
Unfortunately, his response fails to clarify USAID's position on laws that prosecute HIV non-disclosure. In fact, the words "criminal" and "law" never even appear in the response. Nor does his post provide any concrete examples of programs that combat HIV criminalization.
"The statement provided sounds like cowardly bureaucratese for 'We're not touching that with a ten foot pole,'" said Sean Strub, senior advisor to the Center for HIV Law and Policy's Positive Justice Project. "Where's the [USAID] funding for a conference on how dangerous these statutes are, how profoundly they drive stigma, [a conference] providing resources for combating and overturning them? When will that conference be held, funded by USAID?"
This article was provided by Housing Works. It is a part of the publication Housing Works AIDS Issues Update. Visit Housing Works' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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