Friday, July 23, 2010

Ugandan study shows why human rights are central to HIV prevention with African men who have sex with men

Via Aids Map, Roger Pebody

 In Kampala, Uganda, men who have sex with men who have suffered homophobic violence or abuse are five times more likely to be HIV-positive than other men, Joseph Barker told the Eighteenth International AIDS Conference on Tuesday. Just under 40% of men had ever been physically abused, four out of ten had been blackmailed at some point, and a quarter had been forced to have sex.

Human rights for men who have sex with men in Africa has been a major theme of the conference. Attention has been drawn to laws criminalizing same sex activity, police harassment, stigmatizing media reporting and denial of health care. Researchers and activists have debated the best ways to advance the human rights of men who have sex with men and other marginalized groups.

In fact, Uganda is a country that has been repeatedly cited in these discussions, with particular reference to a recent backlash against men who have sex with men. As well as retaining colonial laws against sex between men, the Ugandan parliament is currently considering an 'anti-homosexuality' bill that proposes the death penalty for sexually active HIV-positive gay men. Parliament is also considering a separate HIV law which would undermine the human rights of people at risk of HIV infection. In general, homosexuality is socially stigmatized in Uganda and the issue is politically charged.
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