ERASING 76 CRIMES
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LGBTI people, sex workers and drug users in Uganda have moved a step closer to having representatives on the health policy panel that could improve their access to HIV services.
A previous election to choose representatives of those key population groups — groups with elevated risk of HIV infection — was ruled invalid earlier this month on procedural grounds. As a result, those groups still have no official representatives on the Ugandan health policy panel known as the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM).
Kuchu Times reported that Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has been seeking representation on the CCM since 2010, according to SMUG executive director Frank Mugisha. In the past, he said, because effective representation was lacking, key affected populations have not benefited from Global Fund projects.
The Global Fund now requires every nation’s CCM to include representatives of key affected populations, because their health needs have often been neglected in many countries, particularly in those, like Uganda, where same-sex intimacy is a criminal offense.
For example, among Ugandan men who have sex with men (MSM), the HIV infection rate is an estimated 12 to 33 percent, compared to 7.3 percent for all Ugandans.
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