Press statement

Uganda’s new Anti-Homosexuality Bill would harm public health

GENEVA/JOHANNESBURG, 3 May 2023—Responding to the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill by the Ugandan Parliament, UNAIDS has warned that its passing into law would undermine Uganda’s efforts to end AIDS by 2030, by violating fundamental human rights including the right to health and the very right to life.   

UNAIDS East and Southern Africa Director Anne Githuku-Shongwe said:  

Uganda has made excellent progress in tackling the AIDS pandemic. This new Bill, if passed into law, would undercut that progress.  

It would drive communities away from life-saving services, and obstruct health workers, including civil society groups, from providing HIV prevention, testing and treatment.    

The evidence is crystal clear: the institutionalization of discrimination and stigma will further push vulnerable communities away from life-saving health services. Research in sub-Saharan Africa shows that in countries which criminalize homosexuality HIV prevalence is five times higher among men who have sex with men than it is in countries without such laws.   

By undermining public health, this law would be bad for everyone.   

The harmful Bill stands in marked contrast to a positive wave of decriminalization taking place in Africa and across the world, in which harmful punitive colonial legislation is being removed in country after country. Decriminalization saves lives and benefits everyone.  

Public health organizations welcomed the President’s rejection of the earlier Bill. As this new Bill, like the earlier Bill, would hurt public health, it too should not be enacted.”  

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