Stop Using Laws as Weapons Against HIV Prevention

Published: February 16, 2011

Every day regressive laws and state practices are used as weapons against the groups most vulnerable to HIV within societies across the world.

My colleague Heather Doyle recently blogged about the devastating murder of leading gay activist David Kato in Kampala, Uganda. David lived as an outspoken critique of the existing penalty of life imprisonment that gay people face in Uganda and the infamous “anti-gay” bill still before the Ugandan parliament, which threatens to introduce the death penalty for same-sex behavior where the “offender” is HIV-positive.

In Russia, the number of people newly infected with HIV continues to rise drastically as government officials actively prevent the distribution of clean needles and methadone, despite overwhelming international evidence that shows such interventions prevent HIV and save lives (read Maria Golovanevskaya’s post on this topic).

In Macedonia, under the cloak of the country’s criminal code, police have arrested a large number of street-based sex workers, forced them to undergo testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and then shamefully released the results to the media and the public. Sex workers spoke out about this in a video supported by the Open Society Foundations.

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