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Gays Not Part of
Uganda's HIV Treatment Plan

Gays Not Part of
Uganda's HIV Treatment Plan

The head of Uganda's AIDS commission, Kihumuro Apuuli, claims that despite his belief that homosexuals are responsible for increasing the number of HIV infections in the country, they will not be targeted for treatment.

The head of Uganda's AIDS commission, Kihumuro Apuuli, claims that despite his belief that homosexuals are responsible for increasing the number of HIV infections in the country, they will not be targeted for treatment, Reuters reported. Apuuli stated that a lack of money prevents him from providing any attention or treatment to gay people.

"Gays are one of the drivers of HIV in Uganda, but because of meager resources, we cannot direct our programs at them at this time," Apuuli told Reuters in the capital, Kampala, on Monday.

Instead, he said, he is primarily focused on treating prostitutes, soldiers, and the transient workforce. More than a million of Uganda's 27 million people are already HIV-positive.

Apuuli's statement reflects the government's antigay sentiment. Section 140 of Uganda's penal code calls for a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for homosexual conduct. Section 143 punishes acts of "gross indecency" with up to five years in prison, while a sodomy conviction carries a penalty of 14 years to life imprisonment.

In 2007, James Nsaba Buturo, the country's minister for Ethics and Integrity, said the government is committed to preventing LGBT people from "trying to impose a strange, ungodly, unhealthy, unnatural, and immoral way of life on the rest of our society."

Apuuli's comments come just before an AIDS conference is scheduled to begin in Kampala on Tuesday. (The Advocate)

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