A Dangerous Downward Spiral
amfAR Founding Chairman Dr. Mathilde Krim and Trustee Harry Belafonte express their grave concern over recently enacted anti-LGBT laws in Uganda and Nigeria in an opinion piece for CNN.com.
Dr. Mathilde Krim and Harry Belafonte at the 2011 amfAR New York Gala. It is a tragic irony that two countries in Africa —Nigeria and Uganda— that for many years experienced the subjugation of colonial rule have recently enshrined into law discriminatory practices that dehumanize their own citizens.
In Uganda, a draconian bill recently signed by President Yoweri Museveni makes it a crime to be gay. Any person convicted of "the offense of homosexuality" faces life imprisonment. Anyone found guilty of "funding or sponsoring homosexuality or other related activities" will be sentenced to a seven-year jail term.
Apart from being a flagrant abuse of human rights, the new law will severely impede the efforts of any organization conducting HIV prevention and outreach programs serving gay men in Uganda.
Gay men, other men who have sex with men, and transgender individuals are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS—in Uganda and the world over. Driving a community that is already stigmatized further into the shadows will seriously undermine progress on the global epidemic, progress that depends on reaching the most vulnerable populations.
Read the full opinion piece on CNN.com.