Ugandan Women with HIV speak out against criminalizing HIV

This from the Ugandan Parliament website:

Women oppose bill criminalizing HIV

Women living with HIV have petitioned Parliament opposing clauses of the HIV and Aids bill that   criminalize the act of spreading HIV. They argue that criminalization provisions of the bill will force persons living with HIV underground for fear of prosecution.

“Women Living with HIV will be disproportionately prosecuted, since women often learn their HIV status before their male partners”, said Apea Agnes the Executive Director of the National Community of Women Living with HIV in Uganda (NACWOLA).

She told the Speaker of Parliament that mandatory testing and unauthorized disclosure of results will violate the rights of persons living with HIV and limit the participation in voluntary HIV testing and counseling.

The petitioners appealed to government to scale up its investment in antiretroviral treatment and care to save more than 500,000 Ugandans in urgent need of ARVs.

Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Edward Ssekandi hailed NACWOLA for championing the fight against HIV and reaffirmed the commitment of Parliament to funding activities aimed at reducing the spread of HIV.

He confirmed that the HIV Bill before Parliament was tabled with good intentions aimed at reducing the spread of the virus.

The Ugandan Speaker’s response is hopeful. He refers to the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill (go here for full text) tabled before Parliament in May. A similar argument can be advanced against the portion of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which uses HIV status to determine the death sentence.