Saturday, May 22, 2010
Dr Rwakimari promises to address Minorities concerns under HIV/AIDS bill she tabled this week
Hon Beatrice Rwakimari, the Ntungamo District Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the HIV/Aids Committee in Parliament has said all concerns of sexual Minority groups in Uganda regarding the HIV/AIDS control Bill 2010 she tabled mid this year in Parliament shall be addressed.
She said this in a meeting in Kampala with the Executive Director of UHSPA-Uganda, Mr. Kikonyogo Kivumbi.
Ms Rwakimari said she “understood" UHSPA's concerns of minority, LGBTI groups if the bill is passed in the current form and said a position paper by minority groups is welcome.
“This law is for all Ugandans. Minorities are Ugandans and we shall listen to them equally," She said.
Mr. Kivumbi told Rwakimari that LGBTI and sex workers are being targeted by the spirit behind the bill to control them. “Minorities need not be controlled. They are partners in the fight against the pandemic and should be part of the process," Kivumbi asserted.
He specifically raised a clause on the confidentiality of medical information captured within Uganda’s health infrastructure. “ The bill indicates that the right to confidentiality can be foregone, using another law,” Kivumbi told the legislator. He said that ‘ any other law’ can be the Equal Opportunities Act 2007 already passed by Parliament that is a subject of constitutional Court petition no.1 0f 2009. The law says minority groups complaints can not be entertained by the commission, which has tribunal powers.
Ms Rwakimari said her committee shall not lock any interested group in the bill outside to present their views and fears.
Uganda’s vulnerable groups
In the quest for better HIV/AIDS management in Uganda, a number of vulnerable and high risk groups were identified by the government, referred to as the Most At Risk Populations (MARPS). These include prison inmates and uniformed services, sex workers, fishing communities, internally displaced persons, people with disability, orphans and vulnerable children and mobile populations…... but exclusing LGBTI
The meeting at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala also touched on the specific mention of sex workers in the bill. Kivumbi told the MP that LGBTI community had alot to do in the fight against Aids,and asked her to introduce basic LGBTI needs on the national essential suppliers list. Men who have sex with Men account for about 6 to 10% of Global new infections according to UNAIDS, but few countries, including Uganda have deliberate programmes to address their needs to live a better healthy life.
Mr. Kivumbi told the legislator that preliminary observations by UHSPA indicate that some Ugandan MSM and lesbians do not believe they can contract HIV from same sex intercourse. The report due for presentation to the UN Human Rights Council indicates that some Ugandan gay men do not use condoms due to lack of information, specifically targeting the homosexuality groups. All Uganda’s senstisation messages target heterosexuals.
While, some bisexual men use condoms in heterosexual relationship, they pose a danger to their female sex partners of infection from HIV acquired in their same sex encounters, without protection. This puts Uganda, a global setter in HIV/AIDS management out of step with providing the much needed care and senstisation to its vulnerable groups. A UN General Assembly Special Session, Uganda Country Report 2010, commissioner by the Uganda Aids Commission indicates that Uganda has no interventions to reduce HIV transmission among LGBTI groups
This puts Uganda, a global setter in HIV/AIDS management out of step with providing the much needed care and senstisation to its vulnerable groups. A UN General Assembly Special Session, Uganda Country Report 2010, commissioner by the Uganda Aids Commission indicates that Uganda has no interventions to reduce HIV transmission among LGBTI groups
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