Last night, 60 Minutes provided a sympathetic review of the PEPFAR intervention in Uganda. As I have discussed here before, the program has been immensely successful. The broadcast puts real faces on the success (especially the kids) and the problems (extraordinary footage of HIV informing sessions). Near the end of the segment, 60 Minutes interviewed Martin Ssempa but without any mention of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Bob Simon notes that the spread of HIV is driven by polygamy, “sugar daddies” and sexual networks – all heterosexual issues there. He also documents how US backed drug treatment has brought hope to HIV positive people. I could not help but feel touched by the faces of the children and the pain of the couples who found that one or both of them were HIV positive. The presence of Martin Ssempa without mention of his advocacy for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is a striking omission in light of the potential for that bill to erode more progress on HIV. The main driver of HIV in Uganda is heterosexual behavior. Ssempa does speak about that, but it certainly seems to me that his recent anti-gay crusade has the potential to undo his good work by making gays the scapegoat for a problem that cannot be solved by the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I addressed some of these issues in a November, 2009 commentary which I am reprinting after the break.