Uganda follows the U.S., while Gambia follows Uganda and none of that is good news . . . We’re reading about setting bad examples

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NewWWRCriminalization threatens global progress against AIDS – Dr. Kenneth Mayer is a clinician and researcher who works in U.S. and global HIV responses, so he is in a good position to see patterns in successes and failures in both efforts. Here he explains how Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni could feel comfortable visiting the White House and having his picture taken with President Obama right around the time he signed his country’s newest human rights abusing law. Public health and human rights leaders around the world, including U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Deborah Birx had urged Museveni not to sign the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act, which included criminalized HIV transmission, forced HIV testing, and breaches of medical confidentiality among its objectionable clauses. Museveni signed it anyway, and Dr. Mayer points to one reason the Uganda president didn’t see a problem with the law — at least 33 U.S. states have HIV criminalization laws on the books. Dr. Mayer also highlights the failures in communication in years of PEPFAR funding for the faith-based homophobic Inter-Religious Council of Uganda before the passage of the recently overturned Anti-Homosexuality Law in the country drew attention to human rights abusing philosophy of that organization.

The Gambia passes bill imposing life sentences for some homosexual acts
– Wonder where the Gambian parliament got that idea? According to news reports, the text of the Gambia’s new anti-gay legislation is identical to the wording of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act. Like the law in Uganda, it creates the crime of “aggravated homosexuality,” which, in the Uganda law included being gay and having HIV. Once again human rights and health leaders are urging President Yahya Jammeh not to sign the law. But its hard to imagine that Jammeh, who has called gay people “vermin,” and who has also claimed he invented a cure for HIV, can be counted on to follow reasoning based on human rights and public health principles. But as the 76 Crimes blog points out in a post about the law and Jammeh’s public statements, the Gambian president also proudly had his picture taken at the White House, with President Obama, even after saying his government would fight gay people as it fights malaria-causing mosquitoes, and even after saying, as this Human Rights Watch summary quotes, of gay people seeking asylum: “If I catch them, I will kill them.”

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