amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, unequivocally supports Ambassador Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and her statement of May 14 on the recent passage of the HIV Prevention and Control Act by the Ugandan Parliament.
Ending the AIDS pandemic requires the implementation of both sound science and sound policy. We have the scientific and medical tools to achieve an AIDS-free generation, and such tools are being administered by dedicated healthcare workers and in many cases are being made more accessible by civil society and governments every day. However, important medical and scientific advances in addressing HIV are useless without sound policies that help, empower and meaningfully equip populations affected by HIV or at risk of infection. Stigmatizing and criminalizing groups most affected by HIV only serves to drive people from life-sustaining medical care and other services, and risks exacerbating rather than stemming transmission risk.
As Ambassador Birx points out, in the past Uganda has served as a model among nations in effectively fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The recent passage of laws by the Ugandan government that stigmatize and criminalize people living with HIV as well as homosexuals will only taint the country’s impressive record, undermine progress on addressing HIV, and move Uganda farther away from achieving an AIDS-free generation.