HRAPF WORLD AIDS DAY PRESS RELEASE
30TH NOVEMBER 2016
LET US FIGHT HIV/AIDS WITH NO ONE LEFT BEHIND
Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) joins the rest of the world to commemorate this year’s International World AIDS Day. The global theme for the AIDS campaign is Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths. In Uganda, this year’s theme is Accelerating Community Action Towards Zero New Infections. These themes, together, call for engagement of all communities, without discrimination, to be able to achieve the promise of the 2030 Agenda.
This year’s commemoration come at the heels of the coming into force of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted with a promise that no one should be left behind. This promise especially resonates with the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic in most developing countries, Uganda inclusive. This far, Uganda has registered tremendous achievements in fighting HIV/AIDS. AIDS related deaths have reduced and there is increased enrollment of people living with HIV on ARV treatment. However, new infections have increased, and also some groups continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS as they are left out of the efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.
The groups that are largely left out of the efforts against HIV/AIDS include: sex workers; Injecting Drug Users; Men who have sex with Men (MSM); Transgender persons; Women who have sex with Women (WSW) and Bisexuals. This exclusion is especially as a result of the existing socio-cultural practices and beliefs, coupled with criminalising laws that encourage, entrench and legalise the marginalisation and discrimination of these people. Although there have been efforts at inclusion of some of these groups, there is need for enabling social, economic, cultural and legal environments for them to be successful.
To this end, HRAPF calls upon all stakeholders to bring Uganda’s HIV/AIDS struggle within the themes above by ensuring that all practices that tend to encourage and entrench marginalisation are prohibited, and that laws that legalise discrimination and marginalisation are repealed. The provisions of the laws that HRAPF is specifically concerned about in this regard are: the provisions of the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act 2015 that criminalise transmission and attempted transmission of HIV/AIDS as well as mandatory testing; the sections of the Penal Code Act that criminalise sex work and consensual same sex relations; and laws that criminalise drug use. This will go a long way in ensuring that all persons have equal access to HIV services without fear of penal sanctions or social stigma.
By bringing all persons and communities on board, Uganda will fulfill the promise of leaving no one behind and will be moving towards an AIDS free country.
For more information contact us:
Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum – Uganda (HRAPF)
Plot 390, professor ApoloNsimbabi Road,
20 Metres off Balintuma Road, Namirembe
P.O. Box 25603 Kampala,
Phone contact: +256-414 -530-683