Global Fund withholds shs700b for ARV treatment over gay rights

Published: November 15, 2011

THE Global Fund has denied Uganda $270m (about sh700b) needed to put over 100,000 more people on lifesaving ARVs because the country’s policies are deemed harsh on sexual minorities.
 
The AIDS control manager in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Zainab Akol, said the rights of minorities were derailing the fight against HIV/AIDS.
 
“By the time we are through with one group’s rights, we have 130,000 new infections,” she said, adding: “It is as if the global agenda is to use HIV to propagate sexual minority groups. Let them use the proper channels to deal with such issues.” 
 
Currently, Uganda has 700,000 people who need ARVs, but only 300,000 are on the lifesaving drugs.
“We had asked for $270m for round 10 of the Global Fund. We could have used part of it to put 100,000 people on ARVs,” Dr. Akol said in an interview.
 
“We need effective care and support as a preventive strategy, not the minority issues that are being forced into the fight against HIV/AIDS,” she added.
 
Akol revealed this at Hotel Africana yesterday during the release of research findings on HIV services in four districts of Uganda by the Uganda network of AIDS Service Organisations (UNASO) and an interview afterwards.
 
The study carried out in Rakai, Nakasongola, Amuria and Pader districts, found that there was a shortage of machines to do the CD4 count, shortage of personnel as well as drugs. UNASO executive director George Katunguka presented the findings.
 
However, Akol said the Global Fund was giving Uganda $130m (about sh330b) from round 7, which would also be used to buy ARVs and test kits.

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