HIV+ gay man to be deported back to Uganda

A Ugandan gay men who is HIV positive has been fighting to not be returned to his native Uganda.  The 40 year old man, currently residing in London, has made repeated attempt to prevent his deportation to Uganda, a country known to be particularly hostile to gay individuals.  Homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in prison in Uganda, and a currently pending bill would impose the death penalty in certain instances, for example if there is evidence to show that the gay individuals transmitted HIV to others via sex.  The full article from the Advocate online cane be found here.  The UK government has denied that  the asylum seeker is gay, despite the evidence that he presented, including participation in a gay support group. All requests for asylum have been denied, and Mr. Said is set to be deported this weekend.

The anti-gay, HIV criminalization environment in Uganda is not new.  This past January, gay Ugandan activist David Kato  (pictured left)  was murdered for advocating for increased rights for sexual minorities .   In the US, there was controversy this past February when President Obama, spoke at the Fellowship prayer breakfast, as a member of the Fellowship, David Bahati , was the individual in Uganda responsible for drafting the anti-gay, HIV criminalization bill.

As this blog focuses on HIV, all of this leads to the larger discussion of criminalization of HIV.     Should an individual fear for their lives and not be able to live freely in their homeland because they have HIV?  In the opinion of this author, HIV criminalization serves no purpose.  Instead of educating individuals about HIV transmission and how to protect themselves, criminalization creates added stigma to HIV and makes it even more difficult for positive individuals to come forward tos eek the services that they need.  Criminalization also prevents individuals from being tested for fear of stigma. I do ponder that criminalization may be appropriate in instances where an individual knowingly transmits HIV to an individual, but I do not know enough legally about such a scenario to make an accurate judgment.   I do know that  I am sad that Mr. Said need to return to a country where he needs to fear for his life due to his sexual orientation and HIV status.

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