Friday, January 23, 2015

 

Uganda LGBTI get 2nd chance to elect legitimate reps

Efforts to increase LGBTI people’s and sex workers’ involvement in planning Ugandan health services are not going smoothly, reports Ugandan correspondent Kikonyogo Kivumbi. ( 76crimes article) An election to choose representatives of those key population groups was ruled invalid on Wednesday, Jan. 21. As a result, those groups still have no official representatives on the Ugandan health policy panel known as the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM). A new election is scheduled for Feb. 5. Representation for LGBTI people and sex workers is important because those groups suffer from a higher rate of HIV infections than the overall population. Among Ugandan men who have sex with men (MSM), the HIV infection rate is an estimated 12 to 33 percent, compared to 7.3 percent for all Ugandans. Uganda’s CCM oversees grants from the Global Fund (the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria), which finances many of Uganda’s anti-AIDS efforts. CCM’s exist in every country that applies to the Global Fund for grants for the prevention and treatment of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. These are country-level multi-stakeholder partnerships that develop and submit grant proposals to the Global Fund based on priority needs at the national level. After grant approval, they oversee progress during implementation. The Global Fund now requires every CCM to include representatives of Key Affected Populations (KAP), because their health needs have often been neglected in many countries, particularly in those, like Uganda, where same-sex intimacy is a criminal offense. Professor Vinand Nantulya (Photo courtesy of news.ugo.co.ug) Professor Vinand Nantulya (Photo courtesy of news.ugo.co.ug) LGBTI groups and individuals had contested the original results of the election of KAP representatives. In response, Uganda’s CCM chairperson, Professor Vinand Nantulya, declared the election invalid. While chairing a meeting of activists from various KAP constituencies earlier this week, Nantulya cited “obvious flaws” in the selection of Geoffrey Mugisha and Shalince Naturinda as KAP representative. Notably, they are brother and sister; they are from the same organization, the MARPS Network; and there was no transparent, verifiable and agreed upon mechanism for the election. He said the “flawed election” was marred by undeclared conflicts of interest, the MARPS Network process of convening a meeting and electing its own staff, and lack of communication, consultation and feedback from KAP representatives and other interested groups. Uganda Country Coordinating Mechanism Uganda meeting, January 2014. Meeting of Uganda’s Country Coordinating Mechanism in January 2014. The Global Fund has clear procedures for selecting country representatives, which include an open and transparent selection process. The Global Fund “requires all CCMs to show evidence of membership of people that are both living with and representing people living with HIV… as well as people from and representing Key Affected Populations, based on epidemiological as well as human rights and gender considerations.” Kivumbi, executive director of the Uganda Health and Science Press Association, said that “for smooth operations of the CCM, new elections will be held on February 5th with a clear, time-bound road map.” A separate meeting on Jan. 21 of the Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) secretariat “also agreed that LGBTI/MSM and sex workers representation was wanting,” he said. A total of eight KAP sub-constituencies have been identified, with MSM, LGBTI and sex workers included. The Secretariat decided that these groups, working directly with Nantulya, will nominate five representatives each and forward names to the CCM by Jan. 31, Kivumbi said. The 40 nominees will gather on Feb. 5 and elect the two representatives to the CCM. Activists from many LGBTI groups in Uganda will be working to develop their own process to choose their delegates who will, in turn, vote in Kampala on Feb. 5. Related articles: Anti-AIDS activists hope, but fear, Ugandan patent law (76crimes.com) Anti-gay Uganda today (4): Excluding gays from HIV care (76crimes.com) Dispute over LGBTI clinics in Uganda (76crimes.com) Uganda’s anti-gay law will make AIDS harder to fight (76crimes.com) Uganda activists still busy, though fearful (76crimes.com) Will AIDS activist’s death boost HIV support services? (76crimes.com) Uganda study probes anti-gay acts, offers brighter future (76crimes.com) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Additional notes to activists As far as The Global Fund is concerned, every country that wants to get grants funded by the Global Fund must conform to the eligibility requirements for CCM's (see links in article above ) These were revised in 2013 to ensure participation of Key populations at the CCM level, to ensure key populations have a voice in the design and implementation of HIV programs. That revision took many years work by groups such as GNP+ and MSMGF and many others. The implementation will mean that, at last, "no one is left behind," and its about time! The determination of what are the Key populations in any specific nation is usually determined through the National plan, through epidemiological or other evidence and studies (in those cases of nations that do not keep such statistics). I cannot think of any African nation where MSM (and that includes trans persons) would not be an identified key population. The Global Fund, in negotiations with the nations, ensures that they should not exclude specific populations for any "cultural" reasons if there is some evidence the group may represent a cluster of cases from which the virus may spread. The UNAIDS, many years ago developed a definition of Key populations and what groups could and should be targeted if we are ever going to defeat the pandemic (thanks in large part to the participation of the NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS PCB (Board) where excellent delegates have pushed this issue forward). The Global Fund bought into the UNAIDS proposals on targeting key populations about 3 years ago, when it became very clear the Millennium goal for HIV was not going to be met. It then hired specialized human rights staff and developed policies and implemented its new funding model starting in January this year. Unfortunately, there is not yet an independent mechanism (outside the Global Fund) to ensure implementation outside of Southern Africa, where gay and MSM groups set up a mechanism last year to monitor and ensure implementation. Despite this, there is some optimism that most nations in Sub-Saharan Africa will likely implement these new programs and invest in new and significant ways. There will no doubt be some hick-ups, but most sub-Saharan nations have fairly well organised LGBTI communities to keep an eye on things and to complain if there were no programs.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

 

Clause by Clause Analysis of Uganda's HIV/AIDS Control Bill from a Sexual and Gender Minorities Perspective

Parliament of Uganda in session. Uhspa has submitted the analysis below to parliament in respect to the hiv bill making its way through the house Clause by Clause Analysis of Uganda's HIV/AIDS Control Bill from a Sexual and Gender Minorities Perspective
By Uganda Health and Science Press Association (UHSPA) to Uganda’s 9th Parliament TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS 2 1.0 INTRODUCTORY SECTIONS OF THE BILL 5 1.1 Title of the Bill 5 2.0 Objectives of the Bill 5 1.3 Commencement Section (Section 1) 5 1.4 Interpretation Section (Section 2) 5 2.0 PREVENTION OF HIV AND AIDS 6 2.1 Reasonable care to be taken to avoid transmission of HIV and AIDS (Section 3) 6 3.0 HIV AND AIDS COUNSELLING AND TESTING 7 3.1 Pre-test and post-test HIV Counselling (Section 4) 7 3.2 Counselling to be conducted by professional counselors (Section 5) 7 3.3 Nature of pre-test counselling (Section 6) 7 3.4 Nature of post-test Counselling (Section 7) 7 3.5 Continuous counselling (Section 8) 7 3.6 HIV testing services (Section 9) 7 3.7 Voluntary HIV Testing (Section 10) 7 3.8 Persons incapable of giving informed consent to HIV testing (Section 11) 8 3.9 Consent to test for HIV may be dispensed with (Section 12) 9 3.10 HIV testing for purposes of criminal proceedings (Section 13) 9 3.11 Routine HIV testing (Section 14) 11 3.12 HIV testing under a court order (Section 15) 11 3.13 Provision of appropriate treatment to HIV positive woman (Section 16) 12 3.14 Testing of the new born child exposed to HIV (Section 17) 12 3.15 Efficiency to be ensured in testing (Section 18) 12 3.16 Disclosure or release of HIV test results (Section 19) 13 3.17 Confidentiality of test results and counselling information (Section 20) 13 3.18 Exceptions to confidentiality (Section 21) 14 3.19 Person tested to be notified on disclosure (Section 22) 15 3.20 Partner notification (Section 23) 15 3.21 Organ, tissue, body fluid or part of the body to be identified with test Results (Section 24) 16 3.22 Testing of donated blood (Section 25) 17 3.23 Testing centres to maintain health standards (Section 26) 17 4.0 STATE RESPONSIBILITY IN HIV CONTROL 17 4.1 State obligations (Section 27) 17 5.0 HIV AND AIDS RELATED HUMAN BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH 18 5.1 Requirements for research (Section 28) 18 5.2 Consent to research (Section 29) 18 5.3 Anonymous testing (Section 30) 18 6.0 DISCRIMINATION ON GROUNDS OF HIV STATUS 18 6.1 Discrimination in the workplace (Section 31) 18 6.2 Discrimination in schools (Section 32) 18 6.4 Restriction on travel and habitation (Section 33) 18 6.7 Discrimination in health institutions (Section 36) 20 6.8 Access to healthcare services (Section 37) 20 6.9 Liability for discriminatory acts and practices (Section 38) 20 7.0 OFFENCES AND PENALITIES 20 7.1 Attempted transmission of HIV (Section 39) 20 7.2 Offences relating to breach of confidentiality (Section 40) 21 7.3 Intentional Transmission of HIV (Section 41) 21 7.4 Offences relating to breach of safe practices HIV (Section 42) 22 7.6 Penalty for offence relating to obstruction (Section 43) 22 7.7 Misleading information or statement (Section 44) 22 7.8 General penalty (Section 45) 22 7.9 Exemption to creation of risk (Section 46) 22 8.0 MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS 22 8.1 Laboratory analysis (Section 47) 22 8.2 Regulations (Section 48) 23 8.3 Minister to issue technical guidelines on surgical, dental and other procedures or treatments (Section 49) 23 1.0 INTRODUCTORY SECTIONS OF THE BILL 1.1 Title of the Bill HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill The title of the Bill is unduly coercive and reflects the lack of a truly human rights based approach to the HIV and AIDS response contemplated by the terms of the bill. Recommendation: The title of the Bill should be changed to ‘The HIV and AIDS Management Bill’. 2.0 Objectives of the Bill AN ACT to provide for the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS, protection, counselling, testing, care of persons infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS, rights and obligations of persons infected and affected and for other related matters. The objectives of the Bill are laudable in so far as they recognize the need to promote and protect the rights of persons living with HIV. However, it is noteworthy that references to ‘infection’ have negative connotations that may promote stigma and discrimination against Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV),some of whom are our members. Recommendation: The phrase ‘Persons Living with HIV’ should be used instead of ‘persons infected’. 1.3 Commencement Section (Section 1) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 1.4 Interpretation Section (Section 2) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 2.0 PREVENTION OF HIV AND AIDS 2.1 Reasonable care to be taken to avoid transmission of HIV and AIDS (Section 3) 3. Reasonable care to be taken to avoid transmission of HIV (1) A person shall take reasonable steps and precaution to protect him or herself and others from HIV infection. (2) A person shall use protective measures to protect him or herself and others from infection with HIV during sexual intercourse. This provision appears to impose a broad obligation that may not pass constitutional muster nor be entirely practical. In the first place, it goes without saying that persons will ordinarily take all reasonable steps and precautions to protect themselves from HIV infection. It is difficult to see what value is added by a legal stipulation to this effect. Secondly, it is difficult to see how a duty to protect the general public from HIV infection can be legally placed upon private individuals. As regards the particular case of sexual intercourse, even in this regard, it appears that the primary responsibility to protect oneself from infection should be upon the individual, as opposed to a requirement that requires an individual to protect other persons. Moreover, as previously observed, since individuals would ordinarily take such precautions, it appears unnecessary to have a legal stipulation to this effect. Recommendation: This section should be deleted. 3.0 HIV AND AIDS COUNSELLING AND TESTING 3.1 Pre-test and post-test HIV Counselling (Section 4) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.2 Counselling to be conducted by professional counselors (Section 5) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.3 Nature of pre-test counselling (Section 6) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.4 Nature of post-test Counselling (Section 7) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.5 Continuous counselling (Section 8) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.6 HIV testing services (Section 9) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.7 Voluntary HIV Testing (Section 10) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.8 Persons incapable of giving informed consent to HIV testing (Section 11) 11. Persons incapable of giving informed consent to HIV testing (1) A person incapable of giving informed consent under section 10 may be tested for HlV if his or her parent, guardian, caretaker or agent gives informed consent. (2) For purposes of subsection (1) a person is incapable of giving informed consent if he or she is: (a) unconscious; (b) of unsound mind; (c) a minor; (d) suffering from any impairment rendering him or her incapable of giving his or her informed consent. (3) The informed consent shall be in the form specified in form A of the Schedule to this Act. This Section gives too much power to parents, guardians, caretakers and agents and is capable of abuse. It is difficult to conceive of a situation where the need to test for HIV would be so urgent so as to outweigh the right to privacy and personal integrity of the person in question. Moreover, the reference to persons of ‘unsound mind’ is derogatory and not in keeping with the autonomy and dignity of persons with mental illnesses. It is also too broad and capable of abuse. Recommendation: (i) Any testing of persons incapable of giving consent should be sanctioned by a judicial officer. (ii) The reference to persons of ‘unsound mind’ should be changed to ‘persons with mental illnesses’. 3.9 Consent to test for HIV may be dispensed with (Section 12) 12. Consent to test for HIV may be dispensed with Consent to HIV test under section 10 and 11 may be dispensed with where; a) It is unreasonably withheld; or (b) in an emergency due to grave medical or psychiatric condition and the medical practitioner reasonably believes that such a test is clinically necessary or desirable in the interest of that person. This is an unreasonably broad provision. What is the meaning of ‘unreasonably withheld’ for instance? It is also difficult to conceive of any situations where HIV testing would be required as a matter of an ‘emergency due to grave medical or psychiatric condition’. Recommendation: This Section should be deleted. 3.10 HIV testing for purposes of criminal proceedings (Section 13) 13. HIV testing for purposes of criminal proceedings The following persons shall be subjected to HIV lest for purposes of criminal investigation where- (a) a person is convicted of drug abuse or possession of hypodermic instrument associated with drug abuse; (b) a person is charged with a sexual offence; (c) a person is convicted of an offence involving prostitution; This provision would be both unconstitutional and counterproductive from a public health perspective. In the first place, the provision is overbroad and is not a proportional restriction of rights necessary for the achievement of a legitimate public interest. It is unclear what state interest would be served by subjecting persons convicted of drug use or possession of hypodermic instruments associated with drug abuse to HIV testing. It is similarly difficult to understand why persons convicted of offences involving prostitution should similarly be subjected to HIV testing. It also bears pointing out that ‘sexual offences’ include a number of offences many of which do not involve sexual contact, such as, conceivably public indecency or associated offences. Similarly, ‘offences involving prostitution’ may include letting out one’s house knowing it will be used for such purposes, which also does not involve sexual contact. As such, in both of these cases, the provision is exposed as being too broad and thus an unreasonable restriction on the rights to privacy and bodily integrity. In addition, such a provision would be counterproductive from a public health perspective, given that it would serve to marginalize and stigmatize key Most at Risk Populations (MARPS),including Lesbians Gays,Bisexuals,Transgenders and Intersex who are already under the radar in terms of the country’s HIV response, and whose populations already reflect HIV prevalence levels that are far above the national average. An effective HIV response would be one that includes these groups as opposed to stigmatizing and marginalizing them. Particularly, LGBTI community should be part and parcel of preventing a bridging population of new infections. It may also be pointed out that, if the public health purpose behind the provision, especially that relating to sexual offences, is to protect the health of victims of sexual offences, this objective is better served by the provision of Post-Exposure Prophylaxis to all victims of such offences. This is because, if the provision of such emergency treatment is only on the basis of an HIV positive result from a testing of suspected offenders, this life-saving medication may be unduly withheld, such as where such a test is a false negative, as happens where the HIV test is administered within a ‘window period’. This may also be the case where the offence is perpetrated by a group, and only one person is apprehended and tested, or where the wrong person is apprehended and tested. Recommendation: This Section should be deleted. 3.11 Routine HIV testing (Section 14) 14. Routine HIV testing The following persons shall be subjected to routine HIV test for purposes of prevention of HIV transmission- (a) the victim of a sexual offence; (b) a pregnant woman; (c) a partner of a pregnant woman; As previously observed, such mandatory testing is both unconstitutional and counterproductive from a public health perspective. It violates the rights to privacy and dignity of the persons identified and may also amount to degrading treatment. More problematically, it may lead people to shun public health centres in favour of informal and usually unqualified establishments and thus seriously impede the public health response to HIV that has been so successful in the past, largely based on voluntary counselling and testing. Recommendation: This Section should be deleted. 3.12 HIV testing under a court order (Section 15) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.13 Provision of appropriate treatment to HIV positive woman (Section 16) 16. Provision of appropriate treatment to HIV positive woman (1) A pregnant woman who is tested and found to be HIV positive under section 14 shall be entitled to appropriate treatment, care and support, and routine medication to prevent transmission of HIV to the child. (2) Appropriate treatment, care and support and routine medication shall be given to the partner of a pregnant woman. (3) A child who is born to an HIV positive mother shall be given immediate appropriate treatment, care and support and routine medication. The problem with this section is that it is expressly linked to Section 14, which provides for mandatory testing of pregnant women. All HIV testing should be voluntary if the HIV response in the country is to be effective. Recommendation: This provision should not be linked to Section 14, which provides for mandatory testing. Instead, it should allow for the provision of appropriate treatment, care and support to pregnant women (as well as their partners) who are found to be HIV positive through HIV testing based on their informed consent. 3.14 Testing of the new born child exposed to HIV (Section 17) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.15 Efficiency to be ensured in testing (Section 18) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.16 Disclosure or release of HIV test results (Section 19) 19. Disclosure or release of HIV test results (1) The results of an HIV test shall be confidential and shall only be disclosed or released to the tested person. (2) Notwithstanding sub-section (1), the results of an HIV test may be disclosed or released to; (a) a parent or a guardian of a minor; (b) legal guardian of a person of unsound mind; (c) a person authorized by this Act or any other law; (d) any other person as may be authorized by a court . (3) the parent or guardian of a minor who tests positive for HIV should inform the minor of their HIV positive status as soon as it is practical. These provisions for mandatory disclosure of HIV results are problematic from a constitutional law perspective as well as from a public health perspective. In particular, Section 19 (2) (c) is vague and may be liable to abuse. Recommendation Section 19 (2) (c) should be deleted. 3.17 Confidentiality of test results and counselling information (Section 20) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.18 Exceptions to confidentiality (Section 21) 21. Exceptions to confidentiality (I) Notwithstanding section I9 a person may disclose information concerning the result of an HIV test or related medical assessments of a person tested, under the following circumstances;- (a) with the written consent of that person, or his or her legal administrator or legal guardian; (b) to a medical practitioner, nursing officer, paramedical staff who is directly involved in the treatment or counseling of that person, where the HIV status is clinically relevant; (d) upon an order of a court where the information is directly relevant to the proceedings before the court; or (e) if authorized by any other law; (f) any other person with whom an HIV infected person is in close or continuous contact including but not limited to a sexual partner, if the nature of contact, in the opinion of the medial practitioner, poses a clear and present danger of HIV transmission to that person; or (g) any person exposed to blood or body fluid of a person tested; (2) Nothing in this section shall prevent disclosure of statistical or other information that could reasonably be expected to lead to the identification of the person to whom it relates. Mandatory testing is problematic from a wide range of perspectives, ranging from constitutional to practical and public health considerations. In the first place, it has direct implications for the right to privacy and to dignity in so far as it removes the autonomy of the person tested to determine who is informed of their results and under what circumstances, if any this disclosure should be made. Secondly, it will serve to drive a number of people away from getting tested for fear of their results being disclosed to third parties without their knowledge. This will be a significant impediment to the ability of the state to have accurate data upon which to rely in crafting effective public health responses. Although there may be limited instances where HIV results may be justifiably disclosed to third parties, these should be strictly circumscribed, and should mainly be subjected to judicial control, and should in all cases be sensitive to the concerns of the Person Living with HIV (PLHIV) and offer such person all opportunities in the first case to make such disclosure themselves. Recommendations (i) The reference to ‘or counselling’ under Section 21 (1) (b) should be deleted. (ii) Section 21 (1) (f) should be deleted. (iii) Section 21 (1) (g) should be deleted. (iv) Section 21 (2) should be deleted. 3.19 Person tested to be notified on disclosure (Section 22) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.20 Partner notification (Section 23) 23. Partner notification (1) A medical practitioner or other qualified officer who carries out an HIV test may notify the sexual partner of the person tested where he or she reasonably believes that the HIV positive person poses a risk of HIV transmission to the partner and the person has been given reasonable opportunity to inform their partner(s) of their HIV positive status and has failed to do so. (2) Subject to subsection (1) before notifying the partner of the HIV positive person a medical practitioner or other qualified officer shall;- ( a) counsel the HIV positive person and his or her partner; (b) inform the person in advance of the intended notification (c) ensure that follow-up is provided to ensure support to those involved as necessary. While this provision seems to have a number of safeguards to balance the legitimate public health interest and the imperative of protecting the confidentiality of the PLHIV, it does not into adequate consideration the dangers faced by women and girls in particular in such situations. Recommendation The Section should provide for the protection, through safe houses or like mechanisms, of women and girls who are placed in danger of death or serious bodily harm by such partner notification. 3.21 Organ, tissue, body fluid or part of the body to be identified with test Results (Section 24) 24. Organ, tissue, body fluid or part of the body to be identified with test results. Any person donating any organ, tissue, body fluid or part of his or her body for the treatment of another person or insemination of sperm, shall be subjected to HIV testing. This provision might have the impact of discouraging persons from donating organs, tissues, body fluid or parts of bodies, especially in the context of a Bill containing provisions for mandatory disclosure. Recommendations Where possible, testing should be of the body tissues or other donated parts or fluids, as opposed to testing on the person. Where this is not possible, any testing of the donor should be with their informed consent. Where they refuse, they may be excluded from such donation. In any case, the information obtained under these circumstances, including any inferences drawn from the refusal to test, should be treated with utmost confidentiality. 3.22 Testing of donated blood (Section 25) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 3.23 Testing centres to maintain health standards (Section 26) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 4.0 STATE RESPONSIBILITY IN HIV CONTROL 4.1 State obligations (Section 27) 27. State obligations The government shall devise measures to; (a) ensure the right of access to equitable distribution of health facilities, goods and services including essential medicines on a nondiscriminatory basis; (b) provide universal HIV treatment to all persons on a non-discriminatory basis; (c) process, adopt and implement a national public health strategy and plan of action for HIV; (d) prevent and control HIV transmission; (e) take measures to develop and promote awareness rights and duties imposed on persons under this Act; (f) take measures to develop and implement programmes in order to promote the rights of persons; (g) promote and ensure involvement of people living with HIV m participating in government programmes; (h) mainstream HIV programmes in all government sectors; and (i) Provide care and support to persons living with HIV. This is an important provision especially in terms of ensuring a human rights based approach to the response to HIV in Uganda. However, the language used in the introductory clause of this section is extremely non-committal and may weaken the obligations thereby imposed. Recommendations The clause ‘devise measures’ in the introduction of this section should be amended to ‘ensure’ and such similarly mandatory language used throughout the section. 5.0 HIV AND AIDS RELATED HUMAN BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH 5.1 Requirements for research (Section 28) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 5.2 Consent to research (Section 29) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 5.3 Anonymous testing (Section 30) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 6.0 DISCRIMINATION ON GROUNDS OF HIV STATUS 6.1 Discrimination in the workplace (Section 31) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 6.2 Discrimination in schools (Section 32) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 6.4 Restriction on travel and habitation (Section 33) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 6.5 Inhibition from public service (Section 34) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 6.6 Exclusion from credit and insurance services (Section 35) 34. Exclusion from credit and insurance services (1) Subject to this Act, no person shall be compelled to undergo an HIV test or to disclose his or her HIV status for the purpose of gaining access to any credit or loan services, medical, accident or life insurance or the extension or continuation of any such services. (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1 ), an insurer, re-insurer or health maintenance organization shall, in the case of life and healthcare •service insurance cover, devise a reasonable limit of cover for which shall not be required to disclose his or her HIV status. (3) Where one seeks a cover exceeding the no test limit prescribed under subsection (2) the insurer, reinsurer or health maintenance organization may, subject to this Act, require the applicant to undergo an HIV test. ( 4) Where an applicant elects to undergo an HIV test pursuant to subsection (3) and the results thereof are positive- ( a) The applicant shall, at his or her own expense, enter into such agreed treatment programme with the insurer as may be prescribed by the Minister in consultation with Commissioner for Insurance; or (b) The insurer may impose a reasonable additional premium or lien to the benefits ordinarily purchased; or (c) The insurer may decline granting the cover being sought. ( 5) A person aggrieved by a determination as to what is reasonable for the purposes of this section may appeal to the Commissioner of Insurance in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed in regulations and the Commissioner of Insurance shall make a determination on the basis of statistical and actuarial principles and other relevant considerations. (6) A person aggrieved by a determination made under subsection (5) may apply within thirty days to court for review of the decision. The provision, under Section 34 (4) (c) for refusal of medical insurance on grounds of HIV status is unconscionable and unreasonable given the public health impact of the pandemic in Uganda. Recommendations Section 34 (4) (c) should be deleted. 6.7 Discrimination in health institutions (Section 36) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 6.8 Access to healthcare services (Section 37) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 6.9 Liability for discriminatory acts and practices (Section 38) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 7.0 OFFENCES AND PENALITIES 7.1 Attempted transmission of HIV (Section 39) 39. Attempted transmission of HIV (1) A person who attempts to transmit HIV to another person commits a felony. Any punitive provisions in a public health law, moreover one with the expressed intention of promoting human rights, are counterproductive. This is not to mention the difficulties of proof and related matters that would be involved in prosecuting such a crime, as well as the stigmatization of PLHIV that it would generate. The offence also carries with it the dangers of misuse for blackmail and extortion. Additionally, it will likely discourage testing, given that it can only be committed by persons who actually know their HIV status. Recommendation This Section should be deleted. 7.2 Offences relating to breach of confidentiality (Section 40) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 7.3 Intentional Transmission of HIV (Section 41) 41. Intentional Transmission of HIV (1) Any person who wilfully and intentionally transmits HIV to another person commits an offence, and upon conviction shall be liable to life imprisonment. (2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under subsection (1) if- ( a) the other person was aware of the HIV status of the accused and the risk of infection and he or she voluntarily accepted the risk; (b) the alleged transmission was through sexual intercourse and protective measures were used during penetration. For the same reasons advanced in relation to the proposed offence of attempted transmission of HIV (Section 39), the offence of intentional transmission of HIV is similarly misconceived. Recommendation This Section should be deleted. 7.4 Offences relating to breach of safe practices HIV (Section 42) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 7.6 Penalty for offence relating to obstruction (Section 43) 43. Penalty for offence relating to obstruction (1) A person who obstructs or prevents any activity related to implementation of provisions of this Act in any manner commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than four currency points or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months or both. It is not clear what this Section means, or what conduct it is intended to prohibit. As it is, it is overly broad, and would be liable to abuse. Recommendation This section should be deleted. 7.7 Misleading information or statement (Section 44) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 7.8 General penalty (Section 45) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 7.9 Exemption to creation of risk (Section 46) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 8.0 MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS 8.1 Laboratory analysis (Section 47) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 8.2 Regulations (Section 48) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order. 8.3 Minister to issue technical guidelines on surgical, dental and other procedures or treatments (Section 49) No pertinent observations. The section appears to be in order.

Monday, July 29, 2013

 

UHSPA Uganda teams up with HRAPF to oppose Equal Opportunities Commission Act in Constitutional Court

Uhspa Uganda has teamed up with Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum ( HRAPF) to contest the unfair treatment of Ugandan homosexuals in the Equal Opportunities Commission Act. The activists seen here last week petitioned the registrar of Uganda's Constitutional Court, challenging a section of the act that bars homosexuals from equal treatment and opportunity. See more Uhspa work on the controversial act here: Uganda’s Constitutional Court Hears Case on Equal Opportunities for All On Monday Uganda’s Constitutional Court opened hearings on a petition, Jjuuko Adrian v. Attorney General of Uganda, Constitutional petition No.1 of 2009, asking to nullify Section 15(6) d of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act 2007. Section 15(6) d can be used to discriminate against LGBTI persons. Adrian Jjuuko, the plaintiff in this case, is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF). HRAPF’s mission is to "use the law to promote Human Rights awareness and enforcement" and Jjuuko’s petition challenging the constitutionality of Section 15(6) d of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act of 2007 does just that. The Equal Opportunities Commission was established by Ugandan law to… give effect to the State’s constitutional mandate to eliminate discrimination and inequalities against any individual or group of persons on the ground of sex, age, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, health status, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability, and take affirmative action in favour of groups marginalised on the basis of gender, age, disability or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom for the purpose of redressing imbalances which exist against them; and to provide for other related matters. The challenged Section 15(6) d reads: (6) The Commission shall not investigate— (d) any matter involving behaviour which is considered to be— (i) immoral and socially harmful, or (ii) unacceptable, by the majority of the cultural and social communities in Uganda. According to a Behind the Mask report, during the Parliamentary debate about the Equal Opportunities Commission Act of 2007, the Finance Minister specifically said that LGBTI persons should be targeted with this clause. Homosexuals are not mentioned by name as one of the groups in the act, however during the debate to pass the law, the Parliamentary Hansard of December 12, 2006, records Ms Syda Bbumba, the former Finance Minister saying homosexuals should be targeted using the disputed clause. She was supported by other legislators. Hansard is a substantially verbatim report of parliamentary proceedings. “It is very important that we include that clause. This is because the homosexuals and the like have managed to forge their way through in other countries by identifying with minorities,” reads the Hansard entry for the debate, quoting Ms Bbumba. Minorities are not defined in the Constitution of Uganda. However, vulnerable groups have been defined in the National Equal Opportunities Policy of 2006 as categories of people who lack security and susceptible to risk. Mr Jjuko said yesterday that that such a law was not good for human rights in Uganda, and called on all activists to stand and defend the rights of minority groups in Uganda.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

 

Press statement on the Occasion of Marking World AIDS Vaccine Day, the 30th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day and International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT)

A transwoman assaulted by a mob and police in Uganda rescied by uhspa and teu For Immediate Release For more information call: Mr. Kikonyogo Kivumbi, UhspaUganda Cell: +256752628406, +256392911830 Ms Clare Byarugaba UCSCOHRCL, +256776897197 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Media and CSO advisory issued by: • Crested Crane Lighters • East African LGBTI Visual Artists • Midcentral Network for Sexual Health and Rights,Mityana • Global Coalition of Women Against Aids in Uganda • Uganda Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law • Women’s Organization Network for Human Rights Advocacy • Forum for Minority Rights • Sexual Health And Reproductive Rights For Youth • i freedom Uganda • Freedom and Roam Uganda • Transgender Equality Uganda • Kaana Foundation,Kasese • Positive Men’s Union • Support on Aids and Life through Telephone Help Line • Ice breakers Uganda • Support Initiative for People with Congenital Disorders • Health GAP (Global Access Project) ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Kampala, May 15, 2013: On the occasion of three International Days aiming at ending the AIDS epidemic by getting to zero new infection, zero deaths, zero discrimination, and towards an AIDS-free generation, we the above Civil Society Organizations in Uganda working with Most At Risk Populations, make this urgent call to the government of Uganda and the Uganda AIDS Commission in particular, to expedite the formulation of a national framework on HIV prevention and treatment service provision for Most At Risk Population groups, particularly sex workers, transgender persons and Men who Have sex with Men and Women who have sex with Women. This framework should also require non discrimination and describing quality institutional responses to counseling, care, treatment and support needs for Most At Risk Population groups without discrimination among the MARPS. MSM and transgender people are still not reflected in national HIV/AIDS programming and support as a key population. Women who have sex with Women (WSW) in Uganda also have critical health needs, and the country must commit to comprehensively addressing the health priorities of this population, without stigma or discrimination. These actions to address the urgent health needs of key populations are particularly important, given the fact that Uganda is one of a small minority of countries with generalized, mature HIV epidemics that are reporting rising HIV prevalence. In Uganda, prevalence has risen from 6.4 to 7.3% between 2006 and 2012 and incidence is also estimated by Ministry of Health to have increased between 2005 and 2011. Importantly, Uganda is the only PEPFAR “Focus Country” reporting rising HIV incidence—all other PEPFAR focus countries have consistently reported declines in incidence as well as prevalence in recent years. Importantly, Uganda’s prevention funding is not matched to drivers of the epidemic according to Uganda’s 2011 National Prevention Strategy. Effective, evidence-based HIV prevention targeting vulnerable populations such as serodiscordant couples, fishing communities, sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people, migrant populations and prisoners are not receiving proportionate funding for proven interventions. In one study, rates of HIV infection among men who have sex with men in Kampala were almost twice as high as the national average of 7.3% and that study respondents who reported ever having been exposed to homophobic abuse were five times as likely to be HIV positive compared with peers who had never experienced homophobic abuse.(See: “HIV Infection among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Kampala, Uganda–A Respondent Driven Sampling Survey,” PLoS ONE 7(5): e38143. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038143, 2012.) Unlike other African countries that have aggressively sought to reach vulnerable populations with services and support and that are reporting declining rates of new infections, Uganda’s HIV incidence is rising, triggering concern and criticism. Vulnerable and isolated communities including men who have sex with men typically experience higher HIV Infection rates as stigma and bigotry deter them from accessing essential medicines, prevention services, counseling, and public health information. This endangers not only them and their communities but also the Ugandan population at large. The Global Commission on HIV and the Law recently presented incontrovertible evidence that discriminatory legislation that criminalizes homosexuality enhances HIV-related risks among men who have sex with men and other vulnerable groups most at risk of the epidemic and related infections. “The framework we are calling for should also help institutions and bilateral donors to the AIDS response make sound interventions in all MARPS without being labeled ‘homosexuality promoters,’ while ensuring a minimum essential package of quality services delivered without discriminations and according to evidence and best practice, ” Said Kikonyogo Kivumbi, the Executive Director of sexual and gender minority lobby group, UhspaUganda. “We are in a dilemma. When we try to sensitise our own in MSM, WSW and sexworkers community, the government says we are promoting. Officials actually intimidate and close such spaces where we offer prevention, VCT and positive living information. How then as a country can we move to zero new infections and deaths when a certain population is left as a reservoir of the virus because of who they are or how they live their lives,” Mr. Vicent Kyabayinze, the Executive Director of East African LGBTI visual Artists said. While we understand and appreciate the ongoing debate on same sex relationships within the Ugandan context, we appeal to Uganda Aids Commission to remain in Charge and advise HIV policy making accordingly, because health can not wait. We also specifically ask the Ugandan government to: * * Incorporate MSM, WSW, transgender people and other key populations in its National Implementation Guidelines for HIV Counseling and Testing in Uganda (2012) to enable civil society serving the most vulnerable groups offer support needed to scale up positive health seeking behavior, treatment and social support • Urgently scale up national investments in treatment and evidence based prevention, taking advantage of new WHO treatment guidelines that will recommend treatment for all people at CD4<500, leveraging the powerful and cost savings clinical and prevention benefit of HIV treatment * Drop the contentious Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 from Ugandan Parliament in its entirety as it will hinder the progress of hiv programming towards the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. * Incorporate the right to health of MSM and WSW in the HIV/AIDS Control Bill yet for re-tabling in Parliament. * Prevail over Uganda Revenue Authority not to confiscate supplies of lubricants and HIV/STI prevention basic supplies under the guise that they are tools of homosexuality * Introduce and distribute condom compatible lubricants as part of the condom packaging within the Condom strategy for MSM, sexworkers and heterosexuals to reduce on incidences of condom tear * Incorporate and streamline Rights of intersex children at birth within the operationalisation of Ministry of Gender’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s guidelines. The ministry of Health should come up with a comprehensive central registry where such cases of mothers giving birth to intersex babies who are also HIV positive can be recorded to aid national programming and interventions. We remain committed to working with researchers in finding a safe HIV vaccine in Uganda. Notes for the Editor and further reading: The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) IDAHOBIT was conceived in 2004 to commemorate the WHO’s decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1990. A year-long campaign culminated in the first IDAHOBIT on May 17, 2005. 24,000 individuals as well as organizations such as the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the World Congress of LGBT Jews, and the Coalition of African Lesbians signed an appeal to support the IDAHOBIT initiative. IDAHOBIT activities took place in many countries, including the first LGBT events ever to take place in the Congo, China, and Bulgaria World AIDS Vaccine Day, also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, is observed annually on May 18. HIV vaccine advocates mark the day by promoting the continued urgent need for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. They acknowledge and thank the thousands of volunteers, community members, health professionals, supporters and scientists who are working together to find a safe and effective AIDS vaccine and urge the international community to recognize the importance of investing in new technologies as a critical element of a comprehensive response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The first World AIDS Vaccine Day was observed on May 18, 1998 to commemorate the anniversary of Clinton’s speech, and the tradition continues today. Each year communities around the globe hold a variety of activities on World AIDS Vaccine Day to raise awareness for AIDS vaccines, educate communities about HIV prevention and research for an AIDS vaccine and bring attention to the ways in which ordinary people can be a part of the international effort to stem the pandemic. The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is one of the world’s oldest and largest grassroots mobilisation campaigns for HIV awareness. The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial takes place every third Sunday in May. It is led by a coalition of 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries, and is coordinated at the global level by the Global Network of People living with HIV. http://changingattitude.org.uk/archives/5683 http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/636492-uganda-s-aids-response-moving-in-reverse.html http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/advocacy/68872/print http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/advocacy/68872/print http://uhspauganda.blogspot.com/2010/11/open-letter-to-uganda-government-on.html http://www.msmgf.org/index.cfm/id/11/aid/7444 http://uhspauganda.blogspot.com/2011/04/ugandan-lgbti-community-petition.html http://agha.or.ug/publications/promoting-non-discrimination-context-healthcare

Sunday, March 10, 2013

 

Uhspa and TEU celebrate women's day 2013

The match through the streets of Kiira town to demand transwomen rights

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

 

Ugandans act on East African Parliament’s proposed ‘gay-friendly’ HIV Bil

Ugandans act on East African Parliament’s proposed ‘gay-friendly’ HIV Bill Changing Attitude, October 21st, 2011 Be Kikonyogo Kivumbi reports on Behind the Mask: Gay rights activists in Uganda have started consultations with HIV/Aids and human rights organisations about the proposed East African Community HIV and Aids Prevention and Management Bill, 2010. The activists have been spurred by the fact that the East African Community Council (EAC) of Legal and Judicial Affairs will be meeting next week to develop opinion on the gay friendly East African HIV/Aids bill and advise their home governments. The meeting taking place in Arusha, Tanzania will be attended by the Attorneys General and Justice Ministers of the five East African Community member countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. The outcomes shall set discussions for the EAC Council of Ministers set for the second week of November which will be attended by amongst others Uganda’s Minister for EAC Eriya Kategaya. The ministers will be expected to make executive recommendations to the bill which will be tabled in March 2012. Julius Sabuni, a member of the Eastern African National Networks of Aids Service Organisations, a consortium of regional national organisations said on Thursday in Kampala that activists from the region should get ready for the processes to influence a positive agenda. He said when the bill is adopted and passed by the five countries, it will take precedence over national HIV/Aids legal frameworks. For this to happen though, Kabumba Busingye, a Ugandan lecturer of law and gay rights advocate said national parliaments will have to ratify the East African bill and synchronise it with local law. He said as the bill is gay rights friendly, activists in Uganda should engage in advocacy to ensure that Uganda is able to agree to the bill, but also ratify it when it is tabled next year. Kabumba said gay activists should ensure Uganda does not oppose the gay text in the bill. Mary Kamukama, an activist with the Ugandan Health Rights Action Group warned, “We should be careful here. Uganda is fond of partial ratification of laws in East Africa, say the customs Union. We need to ensure criminalization we oppose in Ugandan HIV bill is ratified by Ugandan Parliament when finally adopted.” The gay activists are spearheaded by Uhspa Uganda together with the Uganda Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, a grouping of 33 gay friendly activists and organisations. The position they agree on will be presented to Ugandan Minister or East African Cooperation and Uganda’s legislators at the East African Assembly in Arusha. The draft bill indicates that the five member countries of the block want to drop criminalization of HIV/Aids spread in their country specific laws, while adopting a human rights based approach to fighting the pandemic. The proposed bill will synchronize a regional approach to HIV/Aids programming. Mr Sabuni said he was happy that although the bill was initially proposed by CSOs in the region, it has been picked up by the executive in the regional governments. The proposed non-criminalization of HIV/Aids and fostering provision of information to all people in the region, without any discrimination has won the hearts of some HIV/Aids activists and lobby groups in Uganda. Ugandan HIV/Aids activists spent most of last year lobbying Parliament to drop criminalization of HIV in the country’s HIV/Aids Control Bill 2010. Gay activists and pressure groups also petitioned Ugandan parliament, demanding streamlining of gays rights to health in the Ugandan HIV/Aids Control Bill 2010. The Ugandan HIV Bill expired in the last Parliament, but is likely to be tabled again before Parliament breaks off for the Christmas holiday this year. Gay activists, HIV/Aids and human rights groups are looking at the East African HIV Bill critically as it will have over bearing influence on the Ugandan HIV Bill when it comes to Parliament for debate. Dorah Kyomukama, the Executive Director of Uganda Network on Law, on Law and Ethics said the bill was good for Uganda, especially removing criminalization in national legal frameworks. Prossy Ssonko, a board member of LGBTI lobby group, Uhspa Uganda said, “The language of the bill seems promising to gay rights to health.” She added that the bill has a likelihood that homosexuals will be included in information sharing, and access to vital supplies for HIV prevention, care, support and treatment. Ssonko said “But the language is still vague. All LGBTI activists in the East African region need to take interest in the bill to make the language gay specific and friendly.” Part of the bill refers to how vulnerable and marginalized groups will be reached if the bill is passed. It reads in part, “Vulnerable or marginalized groups in relation to HIV and Aids, means any group whose members may have special needs or may experience poorer outcomes if their needs are not specially addressed and includes persons with disabilities, children, women and girls, persons engaging in any form of consensual sexual conduct that is risky or that is prohibited by or under any law, injecting drug users, refugees, immigrants, prisoners, internally displaced persons and mobile populations.” The bill also talks about “Outlawing HIV related discrimination, promote the acceptance of persons living with HIV and members of vulnerable and marginalized groups; and devise appropriate messages and strategies targeting vulnerable and marginalized groups; present messages in formats that facilitate the inclusion of the different categories of persons with disability.”

 

Civil Society Position on Uganda's Aids response, LGBTI marginalisation to health access

MEDIA ADVISORY For Immediate Release: 16 October 2012 Contact for more information: Alice Kayongo-Mutebi, Community Health Alliance Uganda, 0772440108/0701440108 alkayongo@gmail.com Action Group for Health, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS (AGHA) Uganda AIDS Information Centre (AIC) Uganda • Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS) Uganda • Health Global Access Project (Health GAP) • Health Rights Action Group (HAG) • International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) Eastern Africa • International HIV/AIDS Alliance Uganda • National Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (NACWOLA) • National Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS Networks in Uganda (NAFOPHANU) The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) Uganda • Uganda Network on Law, Ethics and HIV/AIDS (UGANET) Uganda Health and Science Press Association (UHSPA) Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations (UNASO) Uganda’s AIDS Response is Moving in Reverse—Immediate Corrective Action Needed Coalition of AIDS Advocates Call for Aggressive Expansion of Treatment and Evidence-Based Prevention to Save Lives, Halt New Infections and End the AIDS Epidemic (Kampala) On the same day of the opening of Uganda’s 2012 Joint Annual AIDS Review (JAAR), AIDS advocacy organisations called for urgent action by the Government of Uganda to support aggressive scale up of treatment and evidence based prevention. (The JAAR is the annual national assessment of performance in implementation of the National AIDS Strategic Plan.) “The additional up-front costs of accelerating treatment and prevention are marginal compared with the massive costs of Uganda’s current, flawed approach,” said Leonard Okello, Country Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Uganda. “New research shows that earlier, faster HIV treatment scale up is highly cost effective, saves lives and prevents new infections. Together with high impact prevention efforts, Uganda can halt new transmissions and reverse the troubling trends of rising prevalence and incidence.” The coalition released an analysis and report, called “The Change We Need to End AIDS in Uganda,” which describes ten priority action steps needed to drastically improve the struggling national response. These priorities include: 1. HIV treatment—earlier, faster and owned by communities 2. Focus on high impact HIV prevention 3. Endorse and expand save medical male circumcision 4. Expand government funding—through an AIDS Levy and through greater funding for the health sector and the AIDS response 5. Tackle the health systems challenges that hold back the response to AIDS 6. Promote and rebuild community systems that deliver vital prevention and treatment services as well as advocacy 7. Get serious about defending and protecting the rights of women and girls 8. Strengthen HIV testing 9. Close the data gaps—and accept evidence from communities 10. End harmful policies that further marginalize vulnerable groups

 

Uganda’s AIDS response moving in reverse

http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/636492-uganda-s-aids-response-moving-in-reverse.html Publish Date: Oct 17, 2012 newvision By Vicky Wandawa An HIV/AIDS report by advocacy organisations in Uganda indicates that new transmissions are on the rise amidst troubling trends of increasing prevalence and incidence. The findings are contained in a report titled: “The Change We Need to End AIDS in Uganda,” which describes a ten-point plan to halt the trend. The plan is to be presented at Uganda’s 2012 Joint Annual Aids Review, Imperial Hotel during a two-day symposium that ends today Wednesday. Speaking at a media breakfast at Fairway Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday, Alice Kayongo, the HIV/AIDS Policy /Advisor with Community Health Alliance Uganda, noted: “HIV prevalence in Uganda has risen from 6.4% in 2006 to 7.3%. Uganda is the only country reporting rise in HIV incidence, yet we are receiving funding from the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), while other PEPFAR countries have consistently reported declines HIV prevalence.” Some of the ten points include ending harmful policies that further marginalise vulnerable groups; endorsing and expanding safe medical circumcision, and tackling health challenges that hold back the response to AIDS, among other points. Kayongo also highlighted the fact that 57% of people in most urgent clinical need of HIV/AIDS therapy have access to drugs, leaving a whole 43% still not accessing treatment, “Yet therapy improves the patients’ health and reduces transmission by over 90%.” Additionally, Kikonyogo Kivumbi, the Executive director of Uganda Health and Science Press Association (UHSPA), blamed public policy as part of the reasons the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is on the rise. “Currently, there is limited dissemination of information on HIV prevention to some groups such as sex workers and homosexuals, yet the virus can cross from these groups to others since they are bisexuals and also from prostitutes to their clients,” he said. “What’s more, one in every ten new infections is between sex workers and their partners, and yet these are some of the marginalised groups from whom information regarding prevention is concealed.”. Similarly, Margaret Happy, the advocacy manager at National Forum for PLHA Networks in Uganda noted that the HIV/AIDS prevention and control Bill 2011 is discriminatory and unethical. “The HIV/AIDS control Bill is questionable and puts women at a disadvantage,” she said. “The law will permit one to sue on grounds of attempting to transmit, or on grounds of transmission.” “This puts the women at risk because usually, they get to know their sero status before their spouses, when they attend antenatal care. The husband can sue yet it is not known who brought the virus first.” Happy further noted the limited treatment coverage, especially following the withdrawal of the Aids Support Organisation outlets in numerous parts of Uganda, is undermining treatment. “The current service delivery without TASO has led to the scrap of linkages with home care and this has had implications like lack of adherence and even deaths,” she said. “Today, patients who miss appointments are not routinely followed up,” she said. “The ministry of health should ensure a mode of service delivery with strong linkage to home care. Also, transmission can be reduced by 90% with adherence to treatment.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

 

She is My Son: The Pain of Being an Intersex Person in Uganda Press Release May 15,2012

Press Release For Immediate Release Kampala, May 15,2012 Human Rights defenders call for action to protect Intersex Children and people in Uganda Two human rights groups in Uganda have this morning launched a documentary: She is My Son- The Pain of being an Intersex person in Uganda, with a call on government to protect intersex people by availing families with information on intersexuality. The two organizations, Support Initiative for People with atypical Sex Development (Sipd Uganda) and Uganda Health and Science Press Association noted with concern that many intersex people are denied their full potential in life for simply being who they are. The documentary has also been posted on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMfRrc64rl4&feature=share. Mr. Julius Kaggwa, the SIPD Uganda Executive Director said while launching the documentary that intersex people face discrimination, isolation and stigma based on their genital make up and other conditions that not necessarily lead to ambigious genitalia. “The current approach in treatment is that health workers and families are using the concealment oriented approach. They undertake surgery without the express consent of the intersex individual,” Mr Kaggwa said. He also noted with concern that the tests which are undertaken before surgery are in many cases especially for young children are disputable. “For example an estrogen test may be taken on a child and a decision is reached for surgery, yet at puberty for example, a similar test would determine which genital is predominant,” he said. There are also legal challenges in Uganda, where there is no third gender, yet some intersex would want to be counted among “the other.” “In some case female hormones are not enough to make a particular person a woman, neither are the male hormones. How then do you legally characterize such a person without traumatizing them. This calls for information availability to the public, but also for the legal and policy makers in this country,” Mr. Kaggwa added. “This is a volunteer documentary, a first to highlight the plight of intersex people to the wider global community,” Mr. Kikonyogo Kivumbi, the Uhspa Uganda Executive Director said at the launch in Kampala. He called on government to promote the intersex people’s rights to health and education as Ugandans. “I also appeal to the Uganda Pediatric Association, a consortium of pediatric experts to come out and senstise people on intersex. Many people wrongly think that all intersex are homosexuals. Certainly the children doctors can clarify this to end stigma.” Kikonyogo added Media contacts: Julius Kaggwa : +256784251819, sipd.uganda@gmail.com Tom Makumbi: +256773231066, makumbisipd@gmail.com Kikonyogo Kivumbi: +256752628406, kikonyogo.k@gmail.com ( for Kiswahili) Notes to the Editor There is a lot of misinformation on intersex people. Some health workers disassociate themselves from helping and treating them in the wake of the infamous Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009, because they are part of the LGBTI. This documentary is an attempt to drum up policy and activists support to promoting the welfare of intersex people in Uganda.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]