At the same time Uganda is threatening to make consensual same-sex relations punishable by death or life in prison, the nation is facing a jump in the rate of HIV infections. The Ugandan Parliament website reported today on a Ministry of Health briefing which disclosed that the HIV rate has increased to 7.3% in 2011 from 6.4% in 2004.
Given the rush to enact a law depriving gays of life and liberty, one might think that the driver of this increase is homosexuality. However, that is not the case. According to the article, married couples are driving the chamges.
Dr.Musinguzi warned that the HIV/AIDS rates that had gone down in the 1990s have now shot up and require urgent redress. The new statistics point at Women bearing the biggest burden of the disease with 55% of the new infections discovered amongst women.
The research attributes the trend to multiple sexual partners as the key driver to the spread of the disease. 80% of the men interviewed by health experts accepted leaving with concurrent multiple sexual partners while 68% of the women lived the same lifestyle.
The Speaker of Parliament Rt.Hon. Rebecca Kadaga who officiated at the opening of the dialogue re-echoed the need to lay new strategies to reverse the HIV/AIDS trend.
“Although a number of achievements have been made in the fight against AIDS, the epidemic seems to have shifted from single young persons to those married and in long term relationships. I am also concerned that the rich women are now more vulnerable to HIV than others. This is a worrying trend,” the Speaker noted.
Gays are a negligible aspect of the HIV picture in Uganda but the Parliament is wasting time debating homosexuality. The MPs should be spending their time worrying about the sexual behavior of straights. It is beyond belief that the Ugandan Parliament is risking donor funding over the Anti-Homosexuality Bill when the more immediate issue for HIV is infidelity among straights in long term relationships.