On 26th May 2023, President Yoweri Museveni assented to Uganda’s new Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA 2023), prompting some organizations and individuals to run to court seeking its annulment amidst mixed local and international reactions, with President Museveni describing this as “war”.
The new law prescribes death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” defined as cases of sexual relations involving people infected with HIV, as well as with minors and other categories of vulnerable people.
This in-depth story, “KEY POPULATIONS SEEKING HIV CARE CHOKE ON UGANDA’S ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY ACT 2023” exposes how the LGBTQIA+ members are struggling to access HIV care, focusing on western Uganda – connecting the dots with other parts of the country.
“The AHA 2023 has caused a decline in LGBTQIA+ clients. Some were scared, became lost and started missing their drugs. When it comes to service delivery at facilities, hospitals or private clinics, it should stay neutral. We are not here to judge as health workers; our work is to give services. Whoever you are when you come in to the facility; equal services, equal rights for every person – whether you are transgender, LGBTQIA+…equal services, that’s what we are supposed to do,” Dr. Rosemary Ayebazibwe, the AIDS Support Organization-TASO Mbarara regional facility medical services technical lead.
“No privacy. On Saturday last week, the landlord chased us from the house….he rejected rent. Some have been chased away by their families. They are in a sorry state…no food. Some sleep under the pipes…because parents chased them,” one of the victims
Ugandan social activists and human rights lawyers have also punched holes in the anti-homosexuality act 2023, arguing that it greatly undermines the constitutional provisions of the right to health, freedom of association, choice, privacy and other freedoms, and threatens healthcare providers’ jobs and patients’ confidentiality.
By Aaron Ainomugisha Rise News Uganda Network, Internews Health Journalism Network, and Mercury Phoenix Trust HIV/AIDS reporting fellow. https://soundcloud.com/user-954550040/key-populations-seeking-hiv-care-choke-on-ugandas-anti-homosexuality-act-2023by-aaron-ainomugisha?si=6eae928f4f9e4f0e8495968932d31e74&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing