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AIDS world bodies condemn anti-homosexuality bill

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (the Global Fund), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have released a joint statement condemning the assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, saying the Bill will have a "harmful impact on the health of Ugandans."

Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director of UNAIDS

The organisations said in the statement that the Bill will affect the AIDs response plan, which has been successful in Uganda.

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The statement read: "Uganda has been a leader in the fight to end AIDS. Progress has been made thanks to the implementation of large-scale prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care programmes, all based on the principle of access to health care for all who need it without stigma or discrimination. This approach has saved lives. The strong health systems built to support the AIDS response serve the entire population of Uganda. This was evident as community health workers and health systems developed for the AIDS response played a key role in tackling COVID-19 and other disease threats. Maintaining this is vital. Failures in the HIV public health response will have system-wide impacts that could negatively affect everyone."

The statement further stated: "Uganda’s progress on its HIV response is now in grave jeopardy. The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 will obstruct health education and outreach that can help end AIDS as a public health threat. The stigma and discrimination associated with the passage of the Act have already led to reduced access to prevention as well as treatment services. Trust, confidentiality, and stigma-free engagement are essential for anyone seeking health care. LGBTQI+ people in Uganda increasingly fear for their safety and security, and increasing numbers of people are being discouraged from seeking vital health services for fear of attack, punishment, and further marginalisation."

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