Youth Fury over HIV Law


cost geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>During a workshop held at Ntinda, cure Kampala on Wednesday, over 100 youth living with HIV/AIDs condemned Parliament’s decision, saying the law undermines the rights of victims.

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Jacqueline Alesi, the Director programs Uganda Network of Young People Living with AIDS, said the country does not need this law “because it is not useful.”

Brian Ssensalire, one of the youth coordinators, said some of the clauses in the Bill are discriminatory and will impede the fight against AIDS.

The Bill includes mandatory HIV testing for pregnant women and their partners, and allows medical providers to disclose a patient’s HIV status to others.

The Bill also criminalizes HIV transmission, attempted transmission, and behaviour that might result in transmission by those who know their HIV status.

Lawmakers believe the new law will help address the alarming HIV infections in the country.

Health experts recently raised a red flag over the recorded increase in HIV/AIDS prevalence in Uganda from 6.4 percent in 2004 to 7.3 percent in 2011.

The shocking results were tabled before legislators at a dialogue organized by the Parliamentary Committee on HIV/AIDS to address the resurgence of the pandemic.

Dr. Joshua Musinguzi the Programme Manager of the AIDS Control Programme in the Ministry of Health said the recent statistics indicate a reversal in the gains the country had attained during the last three decades.

He confirmed that the HIV/AIDS burden stood at 1.3 million people with 145,294 new infections recorded in 2011. Uganda lost 62,365 people to HIV/AIDS in 2011 according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health.

Dr.Musinguzi warned that the HIV/AIDS rates that had gone down in the 1990s have now shot up and require urgent redress.

The new statistics point at Women bearing the biggest burden of the disease with 55 percent of the new infections discovered amongst women.

However, activists say mandatory HIV testing and the disclosure of medical information without consent are contrary to international best practices and violate fundamental human rights, the three groups said.

Nicolette Uwimana, a member of Young People’s Coordinating Entity, says instead of the government focusing on passing the bill, it should put in place services to help the youth easily access health services such as treatment, medical checkups and also fight stigmatization.


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