Ugandan homosexuals respond to inflammatory remarks by Ugandan Aids Commission

This Monday, 2nd June, 2008 the Director General of Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC), was widely quoted by international media saying “Gays are one of the drivers of HIV in Uganda, but because of meagre resources we cannot direct our programmes at them at this time,”

We would like to point out:

* 26 years since the epidemic of HIV started there has not been a single government led prevention programme amongst gay Ugandans.
* That from the very beginning of the world wide epidemic it was known that gay men are a vulnerable group.

The statement by the Director General is particularly sad, following statements of other Ugandan leaders that gay people should be marooned on an island to die2, and from an advisor to the UAC that “Our previous experience showed us that bringing homosexuals into campaigns against HIV only gives them a chance to propagate their illegal and unnatural acts.”3

We are Ugandans. We are gay Ugandans.

We have a right to life.

We have a right to health.

We have a right to be free of HIV.

We have a right to knowledge about HIV prevention and treatment. We have a right to protect our selves, our lovers, our families and our communities.

26 years since the HIV epidemic started, Gay Ugandans believe myths and lies about HIV because of biased and unscientific public education campaigns carried out by the government. Despite the lies we have been told, all people have the right to unbiased prevention, care, treatment, and support.

We are gay Ugandans, fellow human beings. We are your brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers, cousins and clans mates.

Please stop discriminating and stigmatizing Gay Ugandans in the fight against HIV. Gay Ugandans need to be included in HIV prevention programmes and to be ensured equal access to care, treatment, and support.

Press Release by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)

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