FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Joana Casas, Manager, Program Communications
(212) 806-1602, firstname.lastname@example.org
amfAR Denounces Raid on the Makerere University Walter Reed Project by Ugandan Authorities
Action is a Clear Sign of
Public Enforcement of New Anti-LGBT Law
NEW YORK, April 8, 2014 — amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, today condemned the raid on a US-funded site offering HIV/AIDS services to gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) by Ugandan police on April 3. The raid at Makerere University Walter Reed Project, considered one of the first public actions by police to enforce the newly passed anti-homosexuality law, has led to the site temporarily suspending its activities in Uganda after a staff member was arrested and briefly detained by police.
“We are deeply concerned that as a result of President Museveni’s anti-gay law, these fear-mongering tactics and complete disregard for civil society and civil liberties will severely threaten the lives of LGBT individuals in Uganda, and will undermine the response to HIV/AIDS in that country” said Kevin Robert Frost.
In addition to providing antiretroviral treatment to people with HIV/AIDS, the Makerere University Walter Reed Project also monitors trends in the HIV epidemic in Uganda and conducts HIV vaccine trials. The project opened in 2002 and has expanded its activities to include HIV prevention, care and treatment. Through the U.S. President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the project has been running HIV programs across Uganda.
According to UNAIDS, about 1.5 million people are living with HIV in Uganda. HIV prevalence, after steadily declining from the early 1990s to 2005, has begun to creep back up and is currently approximately seven percent. The Ugandan government does not track the HIV rate among gay men specifically, but it is likely much higher than that of the general population. Gay men, other men who have sex with men, and transgender individuals worldwide are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.
The recent Ugandan bill signed by President Museveni punishes homosexuality with life in prison, and also criminalizes the “promotion of homosexuality,” a category that could include HIV outreach and services targeting gay men, other men who have sex with men, and transgender individuals.
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $388 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 3,300 research teams worldwide.