Southern African organizations respond to Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill, more “MARPs” in Uganda? . . . And updates from the U.S. Military HIV Research Program

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African civil society urges veto of Uganda anti-homosexuality bill: Thanks, but no thanks, a partnership of more than 60 southern African civil society groups is saying to the “Christmas present” of a revived anti-homosexuality bill that Uganda’s parliament speaker is promising to pass before the end of 2013. If the bill becomes law it will include a life prison sentence for people found guilty of “the act of homosexuality,” define a category “aggravated homosexuality” with the aggravating factor being having HIV, shut down organizations that “promote homosexuality,” and send the directors of those organizations to prison as well. Aside from further undermining Uganda’s deteriorating HIV response by suppressing dissemination of vital health information, the bill runs counter to Uganda’s own constitution which is supposed to protect rights to privacy, equality and autonomy, ARASA’s letter says. In the meantime . . .

Uganda fishing communities missing out on HIV treatment
: About 22 percent of people in fishing communities around Uganda’s  Lake Victoria basin are living with HIV, but government efforts to get antiretroviral medicine to them are lagging, according to this IRIN news report. Officials blame low literacy in the areas, as well as how hard they are to reach for the failure. While the article suggests that those living in the remote areas be defined as members of  “MARPs” — Most At Risk Populations, in order to get more government attention, one wonders what form that could take. Could fishing be criminalized next?

The latest in HIV research from the U.S. Military: What do an update on data from the Thai HIV Vaccine trial, ambitious plans to develop a combined HIV/anti-heroine vaccine, Nigeria’s contribution to the international HIV prevention efforts, and new information on the earliest stages of HIV infection have in common? They are all news from United States Military HIV Research Program scientists. The MHRP, centered at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, is an international HIV vaccine research program that  integrates prevention, care and treatment. The program just released its fall edition, of what is planned to be a quarterly newsletter, which also includes a “PEPFAR Spotlight” highlighting President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief updates on medical circumcision in Uganda, a new laboratory in Nigeria, and an international military HIV conference in Mozambique.

 

 

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