GENEVA | WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have condemned “the harmful” impact of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 which President Yoweri Museveni has assented his signature onto.
The international organisations say this will negatively impact the health of Ugandans and the county’s impact on the AIDS response that has been so successful up to now.
“Uganda and President Yoweri Museveni have been leaders in the fight to end AIDS. Progress has been made thanks to the implementation of large-scale prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care programs, all provided on the principle of access to health care for all who need it, without stigma or discrimination. This approach has saved lives. The strong health systems built to support the AIDS response serve the entire population of Uganda. This was evident as community health workers and health systems developed for the AIDS response played a key role in tackling COVID-19 and other disease threats. Maintaining this is vital: Failures in the HIV public health response will have system-wide impacts that could negatively affect everyone,” they said in a statement.
According to them, Uganda was on course to achieve the 95 95 95 goals of ensuring that people living with HIV know their status, victims are on treatment, and those on treatment have achieved viral suppression, respectively.
“Uganda can reach that. By 2021, 89% of people living with HIV in Uganda knew their status, more than 92% of people who knew their HIV status were receiving antiretroviral therapy, and 95% of those on treatment were virally suppressed. Uganda is well on track to achieve the UNAIDS HIV treatment targets if progress can be maintained.”
However, with the criminalization of homosexuality, they say that Uganda’s progress on its HIV response is now in grave jeopardy.
“The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 will obstruct health education and the outreach that can help end AIDS as a public health threat. The stigma and discrimination associated with the passage of the Act has already led to reduced access to prevention as well as treatment services.”
“Trust, confidentiality, and stigma-free engagement are essential for anyone seeking health care. LGBTQI+ people in Uganda increasingly fear for their safety and security, and increasing numbers of people are being discouraged from seeking vital health services for fear of attack, punishment and further marginalization,” they added.
Museveni was quoted in Daily Monitor saying that, “One of the things they’re (donors) threatening is to kill our 1.2 million people who have been surviving on Pepfar funds to buy drugs for HIV/Aids, so that we don’t buy the drugs for our people and they die. This is a simple matter which we can fight but parasites can’t fight. If you fear to sacrifice, you cannot fight. In order for you to fight, I want to first cure you of parasitism. Europe is lost and they also want us to be lost. Those who want an easy life will end up being prostitutes.”