Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill and HIV Prevention and Control Bill are likely to be carried over to the new session of parliament, despite international and local pressure.

David Bahati, the Member of Parliament who introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2009), said he fully intended to re-introduce the bill into the next session. The new parliament began on 19 May.

“The closure of this parliament is just pressing on the pause button,” he said. “I’m committed to the fight against behaviour and promotion of behaviour that is going to destroy the future of our children.”

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are considered by the Uganda AIDS Commission to be a “most at-risk population”, but because homosexual acts are illegal, there are no policies or services targeting HIV interventions towards them. AIDS activists say the bill would only drive an already stigmatised population further underground, leaving them even more vulnerable to HIV.

MSM are often referred to as a “bridging” population for HIV to the general population, given that many also have sex with women. According to a 2010 survey of 303 MSM in the capital Kampala by the US Centres for Disease Control, 78 percent had had sex with women while 31 percent had been married.

The study also found HIV prevalence among participants was 13.7 percent, significantly higher than the city’s average rate of 8.5 percent; knowledge of the risks of HIV was also low.

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