Control Element More Evident than Prevention in Uganda’s HIV Bill
Another article on Uganda’s idiotic HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Bill says the country is going have a bill that compels men to test for HIV along with their partners when their partners are pregnant. I can see a lot of fatherhood denials resulting from this. But this bill, which claims to be punishing men (who all deserve to be punished, right?), will be a lot more threatening to women.
HIV prevalence is higher among women (8.3%) than men (6.1%) and women are already under a lot of pressure to be tested for HIV when pregnant. This means that a lot more women are aware of their status and it is unlikely they will be able to claim not to know their status if they have ever been pregnant, especially if they live in an urban area (urban prevalence 8.7%, rural 7%) and can afford some healthcare (richest quintile prevalence 8.2%, poorest quintile 6.3%).
Ugandan politicians are probably not aware of the terrible conditions in health facilities in their country as they and their families always seem to go abroad when they need healthcare. But they should be aware that health facilities there, especially reproductive health facilities, may be dangerous places. A very expensive survey is carried out every now and again called the Service Provision Assessment and they should familiarize themselves with it. Almost all Ugandan women attend an antenatal facility at least once, and more than half give birth in a health facility and receive the assistance of a skilled health professional.
Given such conditions in healthcare facilities, maybe Ugandan politicians should make sure HIV and other diseases are not being transmitted through healthcare and other skin-piercing procedures before passing a bill that seems to assume that transmission is all a result of unsafe sex. They don’t seem to have any idea of the possible consequences of such a bill.
[There have been quite a number of HIV infections in Uganda that have been unexplained by sexual behavior and are probably healthcare related. To read more, visit our Cases and Investigations page for Uganda.]