By Cecilia Okoth
A coalition of HIV/AIDS activists has asked parliament to amend some clauses in the HIV/AIDS Protection and Control Bill 2010 before enacted into law.
The activists said the HIV Prevention and Control Bill 2010 in its current form has clauses that will deter the fight against the epidemic.
The amendments tehy want effected include mandatory testing, mandatory disclosure and criminalization. They also want the title of the Bill changed to HIV/AIDS Prevention and Management Bill.
“Policy makers should treat this matter with urgency,” said Stella Kentutsi the Executive Director, National Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS Networks in Uganda.
Kentutsi was addressing journalists at a press conference held at the Uganda Network (UGANET) on Law, Ethics and HIV/AIDS offices in Ntinda, Kampala. Kentutsi was discussing the recent case of a nurse who allegedly and maliciously injected a child with blood infected with HIV/AIDS.
Kentutsi explained that such a case (of the nurse) is distinguishable from the proposal in clause 39, 41, 42 of the HIV Prevention and Control Bill 2010 that puts in place a specific criminal law for HIV transmission amongst consenting adults.
Dorah Kiconco, the team leader UGANET said Uganda still has a heavier burden of reducing HIV and that the problem is with people who do not know their HIV status.
“We want to reach the goal of having an HIV free generation in the coming future. But if we incorporate such contentious clauses in the Bill, we shall fail to get people on treatment,” Kiconco said.
The activists also propose that the nurse be prosecuted under the Penal Code Act.
“Such a case would adequately be prosecuted under the Penal Code Act sec 171 that states: Any person who unlawfully or negligently does any act which is and which he or she knows or has reason to believe to be likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life commits an offense and is liable to imprisonment for seven years,” Kentutsi said.