Health activists have warned Ugandan government that her efforts to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS could be reversed tremendously by the Anti-Homosexuality Bill waiting to be signed to by the President.
In an open letter addressed to President Yoweri Museveni , Public health Clinicians and researchers warned that the Anti-homosexuality Bill is a threat to public health. Experts including doctors assured the President that the bill will have disastrous impact on the fight against the fight against HIV
Comparing the provisions of the controversial proposed law with the rights to access health care, the coordinator at Global Coalition on Women and HIV in Uganda, Flavia Kyomukama says that if signed by the President, the law would scare health workers not to offer HIV/AIDS service to specific people based on their sex orientation.
Kyomukama argues that offering HIV/AIDS services to members of sexual minorities would be interpreted as abating crime which will result into denying them the services aimed at controlling HIV infections.
She further notes that the same people will fear to test for HIV/AIDS and demand for other services in order to avoid being reported to the authorities. Kyomukama says all these fears will instead exacerbate the already high prevalence rates among the sexual minorities including the gays, lesbians and sexual workers.
“the law is directly criminalizing access to services, making them criminals because anybody who provides services to homosexuals is indirectly seen as promoting and abating a crime, it means homosexuals are going to fear to go to the health centers because once a health worker knows you are a gay, they may be imprisoned if they are found to be serving or abating a crime because you are Homosexual if you have declared”-Kyomukama.
Explaining the contents of an open letter to President Museveni, the Executive Director Action Group for Health Human Rights and HIV/AIDS Denis Odwe stressed that all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation have to enjoy constitutional rights like access to health which includes care and treatment.
“Like me I can have my wife and also have another partner who is not my wife that means I will enjoy the relationships with both my wife and my other counterpart and if they are not protected that is how HIV/AIDs is spread’’ odwe
He added that such people exist, saying that when one looks at the World Health Organization policies and programs it’s focusing at issues of integration of key population in health service deliver.
“UNAIDS that is a major funder of our health interventions, they are focusing on this (catering for sex minorities) but why are we discriminating these categories at country level? This is very fundamental that policy makers need to think through”-Odwe wondered.
The open letter to the president signed by prominent Doctors and anti-HIV activists within the country and abroad explains the myths and facts associated with Homosexuality. Earlier President Museveni indicated the he would consult experts to get scientific facts about homosexuality.