U.S. Should Demand Human Rights-Based Approach To HIV Prevention Programs In Uganda

“Uganda has sometimes been considered a success story in fighting HIV and has been a darling of international donors,” including the U.S., which “has poured over $1 billion into the country for AIDS programs. But throughout Uganda there are people … who are passed over, denied treatment, or simply invisible to the country’s HIV prevention and treatment programs. Groups such as gay men, migrants, drug users, sex workers, and people with disabilities, as well as prisoners, are commonly left out,” Kathryn Todrys, a researcher with Human Rights Watch (HRW) writes in GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog.

Todrys notes that her research for an HRW report on health in Ugandan prisons “found conditions ripe for the spread of both tuberculosis and HIV.” She writes, “Pressuring the Ugandan government to end abusive practices that increase HIV transmission, for example, costs very little compared with treating HIV after infection has occurred” and says “there is a better approach: fund human rights-based approaches, which emphasize government accountability and evidence-based programs.” Todrys concludes, “The U.S. government continues to lead the world in its financial contributions to the global HIV epidemic. Pressing for a rights-based response is not only effective, it is also cost-effective” (8/4).