Aids Activists Petition Constitutional Court Over HIV Law Top story

2437 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Dora Kiconco, the Executive Director Uganet, says once the law remains in its current form it may affect the mandatory HIV testing for expectant mothers.

More than 60 civil society organizations and persons living with HIV have petitioned the Constitutional Court to quash sections of the HIV Prevention and control Act 2015.  The activists held a peaceful procession led by their lawyers from the National Museum to the Constitutional Court at Twed Plaza where they handed over their petition to the Registrar.

They particularly want court to quash Section 18 of the act which allows a medical officer doctor to disclose the status of an HIV positive person illegal, saying it violates privacy. They also argue that Section 41, which seeks to stop deliberate transmission of HIV, is too broad and could lead to victimization of people living with HIV.

The Petition is backed by affidavits from people living with HIV who have suffered discrimination. Noerine Kaleeba, the founder of The Aids Support Organisation (TASO), says HIV control Act 2015 is discriminatory towards people living with HIV/ AIDS and a direct affront on their rights.
She says although the law is intended to stop the spread of HIV, criminalizing it and giving powers to medics to disclose the status of their patients is inappropriate.
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Dora Kiconco, the Executive Director Uganet, a Health and Gender Justice organisation says once the law remains in its current form it may affect the mandatory HIV testing for expectant mothers. She says criminalizing HIV doesn't help to stop the spread of the disease.
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David Kabanda,  a lawyer with the Centre for Health, Human rights and Development, says Uganda has been at the forefront of fighting HIV but it may endanger its efforts with such a bad law.

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Mark Ogunda, a medical Doctor says the law puts medics in a fix since they are supposed to maintain confidentiality. He says breach of confidentiality will also lead to psychological torture of patients and stigmatization and therefore affect medication.


About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.