Vehemently antigay legislation proposed by members of the Ugandan president’s majority party in Parliament illustrates the need for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the U.S. global AIDS coordinator to insist that those receiving PEPFAR funds, particularly prevention grants, adopt a human rights-based approach to prevention that is free from stigma and discrimination. The U.S. global AIDS coordinator should condemn prevention activities that do not incorporate a human rights-based approach and any proposed legislation that—by stigmatizing a vulnerable population—could make implementation of such an approach unworkable, if not impossible. The U.S. government’s reaction to such activities and proposals should be swift and unequivocal to make clear to policymakers the potential negative consequences of funding PEPFAR prevention programs in environments where such funding would not consistent with a rights-based approach.
The U.S. government should also use its diplomatic, legal, and other program assistance tools to encourage the repeal of laws that criminalize homosexual conduct and/or relationships, or that impede LGBT groups’ ability to register or provide services to their communities. These laws, which are present in many countries around the world, discourage LGBT individuals from seeking access to HIV/AIDS services, thereby undermining sound health policy. Vigorous efforts to repeal these laws are critical to the success of PEPFAR prevention and treatment programs.
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