HIV Prevention and Control Bill passed by Parliament

By hrapf
In May 28, 2014
On Blog

On May 13, 2014, parliament passed the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Bill 2010 with provisions that discriminate people living with HIV/AIDS including one that may end up criminalizing people living with HIV if the President assents to it.

The HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2014, incorporates provisions which criminalise ‘attempted’ and ‘wilful’ transmission of HIV with a five year imprisonment term, provide for the mandatory testing of   pregnant women and permit healthcare workers to forgo confidentiality and to unilaterally disclose a patient’s positive status to an “at-risk” partner or household member.

These provisions violate the rights to equality, autonomy, bodily integrity and privacy guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.  They also go against evidence based effective rights-based approaches to HIV, as embodied in the East African Community HIV and AIDS Prevention and Management Act of 2012. From a public health perspective the implementation of these provisions increases the risk of an escalation in the recent surge in the number of new HIV infections, which over the past 5 years have increased from 6.4 to 7.3%. The implementation of the provisions of this Act will not only place a heavy burden on the already burdened state, but will place an onerous task on Uganda’s judiciary which will be obliged to adjudicate these matters.

It is disheartening that in an environment where efforts are geared toward reducing HIV infections, stigma and discrimination to zero, such a law is passed by parliament.

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