Mexico: Puebla deputy withdraws his HIV criminalisation proposal following criticisms from HIV and human rights organisations

Morena deputy criticised for initiative that criminalises people with HIV in Puebla

Translated via Scroll down for original article in Spanish

Collectives and activists criticised Carlos Evangelista’s initiative that criminalises and seeks to impose up to 10 years in prison.

The local Morena deputy Carlos Evangelista Aniceto has been criticised by groups and activists for presenting an initiative that criminalises people with HIV or any other sexually transmitted infection.

The proposal seeks to reform the Penal Code of the State of Puebla to impose up to 10 years in prison on anyone who, knowing that they suffer from a venereal disease, chronic or serious, incurable and sexually transmissible disease, puts the health of another person at risk of contagion.

Carlos Evangelista boasted on his social networks the initiative that he presented this Thursday, November 9 before the Congress of Puebla, which was turned to the Commission of Procuration and Administration of Justice for its study and, if necessary, appropriate resolution.

“I presented an initiative with the aim that whoever suffers from a venereal disease or other chronic disease transmissible by sexual means or any other direct means that puts another person at risk of contagion and in the event that the disease suffered was incurable, impose up to 10 years in prison, as well as to those who without the consent of those who can legally give it, abstain, stop using or fraudulently damage a contraceptive method”, he proposed.

Carlos Evangelista’s initiative was rejected by the groups Vida Plena Puebla, Red La Morada and the Observatorio Ciudadano de Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (Odesyr), considering that it criminalises people living with HIV or sexually transmitted infections, as well as promoting stigma, discrimination, prejudice, ignorance and violence towards this historically vulnerable social sector.

The organisations and activists demanded that the proposal be withdrawn from Congress and that the Morena deputy receive training from the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and the National Council for the Prevention and Control of HIV and AIDS (Censida).

Following the criticism he received, Carlos Evangelista asked the state Congress to withdraw the initiative he presented on Thursday, arguing that “legislating in favour of vulnerable groups and the most unprotected” has been his objective in the local legislature.

Critican a diputado de Morena por iniciativa que criminaliza a personas con VIH en Puebla

Colectivos y activistas reprocharon la iniciativa de Carlos Evangelista que criminaliza y busca imponer hasta 10 años de prisión

Colectivos y activistas criticaron al diputado local de Morena Carlos Evangelista Aniceto por presentar una iniciativa que criminaliza a las personas con VIH o con cualquier infección de transmisión sexual.

La propuesta busca reformar el Código Penal del Estado de Puebla para imponer hasta 10 años de prisión a quien sabiendo que padece un mal venéreo, enfermedad crónica o grave, incurable y que sea transmisible por vía sexual, ponga en peligro de contagio la salud de otra persona.

Carlos Evangelista presumió en sus redes sociales la iniciativa que presentó este jueves 9 de noviembre ante el Congreso de Puebla, misma que fue turnada a la Comisión de Procuración y Administración de Justicia para su estudio y, en su caso, resolución procedente.

“Presenté una iniciativa con la finalidad de que quien padezca algún mal venéreo u otra enfermedad crónica transmisible por vía sexual o cualquier otro medio directo que ponga en riesgo de contagio a otra persona y en caso de que la enfermedad padecida fuera incurable, imponer hasta 10 años de prisión, de igual manera al que sin el consentimiento de quien legalmente pueda otorgarlo, se abstenga, deje de utilizar o dañe dolosamente un método anticonceptivo”, propuso.

La iniciativa de Carlos Evangelista fue rechazada por los colectivos Vida Plena Puebla, Red La Morada y el Observatorio Ciudadano de Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (Odesyr), al considerar que criminaliza a las personas que viven con VIH o infecciones de transmisión sexual, además de que fomenta el estigma, la discriminación, prejuicios, la ignorancia y la violencia hacia este sector social e históricamente vulnerado.

Las organizaciones y activistas exigieron que la propuesta sea retirada del Congreso y que el diputado de Morena reciba capacitación de la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH) y el Consejo Nacional para la Prevención y el Control del VIH y el Sida (Censida).

Tras las críticas que recibió, Carlos Evangelista pidió al Congreso del estado retirar la iniciativa que presentó este mismo jueves, argumentando que “legislar a favor de los grupos vulnerables y los más desprotegidos” ha sido su objetivo en el Legislativo local.

South Korea: Constitutional court declares HIV criminalisation provisions constitutional despite split opinions

On 26 October 2023, the Constitutional Court, in a 4 (constitutional) : 5 (partially unconstitutional) opinion, ruled that Articles 19 and 25 (2) of the ‘Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease Prevention Act’ (as amended by Act No. 11749 of 5 April 2013), which prohibit a person infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from committing an act of transmission to another person through blood or bodily fluids, and punish a violation with imprisonment for up to three years, are both constitutional. [Constitutionality].

However, there is a partial unconstitutional opinion by Justices Yoo Nam-seok, Kim Ki-young, Moon Hyung-bae, Lee Im-sun, and Jung Jeong-mi that the part of the above provisions that prohibits and punishes the transmission of infection by an infected person who faithfully implements the treatment prescribed by a medical practitioner is unconstitutional.

○ This case is the first case in which the Constitutional Court has decided on the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus by an infected person, and heard arguments from the Korean Health Service, the defendant’s counsel, and the witnesses (medical experts and professors).

○ The constitutionality of the provision under review was declared unconstitutional by four judges, partially unconstitutional by five judges, and partially unconstitutional by a majority of judges, but not by the quorum of judges (six judges) to determine unconstitutionality.

The full Court decision is available on request.


New report from Williams Institute finds that HIV criminalisation in Arkansas disproportionately impacts Black men

Enforcement of HIV Criminalization in Arkansas


The Williams Institute analyzed data from the state of Arkansas about individuals who came into contact with the state’s criminal system through allegations of HIV-related crimes. We analyzed both law enforcement arrest data and data from the state’s Department of Corrections and sex offender registries to understand the beginning and end stages of the criminalization cycle. In total, we estimate that at least 108 people have had contact with Arkansas’ criminal system because of allegations of HIV crimes.


  • There have been at least 119 charges at arrest for allegations of HIV-related crimes since 1990, including four charges for failure to disclose one’s HIV status to a medical professional.
  • Arrests continue to the present day, with the latest arrest in 2022—the latest year for which data were available.
  • Enforcement is highly concentrated by geography:
    • 18% of all arrests originated with Little Rock Police Department, followed by Fort Collins Police Department (10%).
    • Likewise, Pulaski County originated one-third of all HIV-related arrests, followed by Sebastian County with 12% of arrests, and Miller County with 5% of arrests. In contrast, most counties had one or no arrests.
  • The racial composition of people arrested for allegations of HIV-related crimes skews Black: Black people were 48% of all HIV-related arrests, but only 15% of the state’s population, and 43% of people living with HIV in the state:
      • Black men in particular were overrepresented—7% of the state’s population, 31% of people living with HIV, and 44% of HIV-related arrests.
  • Four in five arrests (80%) that proceeded to the prosecution phase resulted in a guilty outcome. Only one case resulted in a not guilty outcome, and the remaining cases had charges dropped or prosecutors declined to pursue the case.
  • The youngest person with an HIV-related conviction was 18 years old.
  • Fourteen people were currently on the sex offender registry for an HIV-related conviction in 2023.
    • Half of these people were Black men, although Black men made up only 22% of the overall sex offender registry.
  • Twenty-one people across two snapshots of people in Arkansas Department of Corrections (DOC) custody (in 2007 and 2023) had HIV-related convictions mandating a sentence:
    • The average sentence per count for the HIV-related conviction was 24 years.
    • Four people only had HIV-related convictions; they had no other current or prior convictions.
    • Black men were 57% of all people with an HIV-related DOC sentence, compared to 38% of all people in DOC custody.

Download the full report

Costa Rica: Organisation of People Living with HIV responds to proposed law to reinstate HIV Criminalisation

Policies that criminalise HIV are policies of death

Translated via For article in Spanish, please scroll down

The Positivxs Organisation, an association of people living with HIV and STIs, told Yafit Ohana that “policies that criminalise HIV are policies of death”.

The organisation’s statements follow “the appearance of Ms Yafit Ohana before the Human Rights Commission of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica. In that dialogue, she confirmed that she had met several times with the President of the Republic, Rodrigo Chaves Robles, to propose the creation of a law criminalising intentional HIV transmission with penalties equal to those for murder. Ms. Ohana also said that her criminalization proposal is relevant because it aims to protect Costa Rican women and children.

In this regard, the members of Asociación Positivxs, an association of people living with HIV and STIs, want to communicate:

Policies that criminalize people living with HIV have been part of Costa Rica’s history. It is no secret that LGBTIQA+ people were persecuted under the excuse of preventing the transmission of the virus by the government of Oscar Arias Sanchez and the Ministry of Health led by former Minister Edgar Mohs through mandatory HIV testing for public sector work and raids on LGBTIQA+ bars between 1986 and 1987. It is always important to remember the open letter to the Ministry of Health by activists and social organisations of sexually diverse people in the daily newspaper Nación in 1987.

But years have passed, science has advanced and a virus like HIV is no longer a death sentence. Over the last ten years, science has talked tirelessly about it: Undetectable is untransmissible, i.e. a person who has access to antiretroviral treatment and takes it regularly has no chance of transmitting the virus through sex, breastfeeding or childbirth. Because of this, sister organisations working on HIV in the country and independent activists worked to update the General Law on HIV. This change happened in the last government and removed the criminalisation for transmitting the virus in order to respond to Human Rights guidelines.

Why should Costa Rica go back to targeting its most vulnerable populations? We know that policies that criminalise HIV exist in countries such as Canada and some states in the United States. But according to UNAIDS reports in 2021, what these laws have done is to accentuate the wounds of inequality in the most vulnerable populations and keep people living with HIV away from health centres when we need them most.

People living with HIV are men, women, children, we are migrants, we are non-binary people, we are substance users, we can be anyone, anywhere. We are people who simply because we are alive deserve a peaceful life where we are not criminalised for living with a virus.

Regarding Ms Ohana’s unfortunate statements, it is also important to mention that there are women with HIV and there are children with HIV and that policies that criminalise the transmission of the virus under the argument of sexual violence, also criminalise us.

We believe that instead of talking about us as sexual predators and thinking that we are going to transmit the virus voluntarily, the work of the State and public opinion should be to discuss and work to create policies that ensure access to health in a supportive, timely and humane way.

There is still a lot of work to be done in the country when it comes to HIV, for example there are these problems:

People are still dying from AIDS-related causes.
There are still trans sisters who experience violence within the Costa Rican health system.
There are still many obstacles to getting a woman cleared for HIV testing.
There are still ongoing logistical problems that affect access to treatment.
Rules and regulations have not yet been passed to enforce the provisions of the Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Law Reform 9797.

“For this reason we want to urge CONASIDA, the representatives of society before CONASIDA, the Ministry of Health and all those who wish to join us in putting pressure on the various state authorities to propose policies, laws, rules and regulations that put an end to the problems that exist in the country when it comes to HIV,” they said.

“To achieve this, it is necessary to leave behind policies based on hate and generate policies that heal the wounds of inequality that this country has inflicted on people with HIV throughout history,” they concluded.

Las políticas que criminalizan el VIH son políticas de muerte, señala organización de personas con VIH a Yafit Ohana

La Organización Positivxs, una asociación de personas con VIH e ITS, la señaló a Yafit Ohana que “las políticas que criminalizan el VIH son políticas de muerte”.

Las declaraciones de la organización se dan luego de “la comparecencia de la señora Yafit Ohana ante la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Asamblea Legislativa de Costa Rica. En dicho diálogo la señora confirmó que se reunió varias veces con el Presidente de la República, Rodrigo Chaves Robles, para proponer la creación de una ley que penalice la transmisión intencional del VIH con penas iguales a las de un asesinato. Ohana también afirmó que su propuesta de criminalización es pertinente pues pretende proteger a las mujeres y a la niñez costarricense”.

Al respecto, las personas que integramos la Asociación Positivxs, una asociación de personas con VIH e ITS, queremos comunicar:

Las políticas que criminalizan a las personas que vivimos con VIH han sido parte de la historia de Costa Rica. No es un secreto que las personas LGBTIQA+ fuimos perseguidas bajo la excusa de prevenir la transmisión del virus por el gobierno de Oscar Arias Sánchez y el Ministerio de Salud dirigido por el ex-ministro Edgar Mohs a través de la obligatoriedad de las pruebas de VIH para trabajar en el sector público y las redadas a bares de personas LGBTIQA+ entre 1986 y 1987. Siempre es importante recordar la carta abierta al Ministerio de Salud que hicieron activistas y organizaciones sociales de personas sexualmente diversas en el diario Nación en 1987.

Pero los años han pasado, la ciencia ha avanzado y un virus como el VIH ya no representa una sentencia de muerte. Durante los últimos diez años la ciencia a hablado incansablemente sobre: Indetectable es intransmisible, es decir, una persona que tenga acceso a tratamiento antirretroviral y lo consuma de forma regular no tiene ninguna posibilidad de transmitir el virus por vía sexual, lactancia o parto. Debido a ello, organizaciones hermanas que trabajan VIH en el país y activistas independientes trabajaron por actualizar la Ley General de VIH. Cambio que sucedió en el gobierno pasado y eliminó la penalización por transmitir el virus con el fin de responder a los lineamientos de Derechos Humanos.

¿Por qué Costa Rica debería volver a atacar a sus poblaciones más vulnerables? Sabemos que las políticas que criminalizan el VIH existen en países como Canadá o algunos estados de los Estados Unidos. Pero según informes de ONUSIDA en 2021, estas leyes lo que han hecho es acentuar las heridas de desigualdad en las poblaciones más vulnerables y alejar a las personas que vivimos con VIH de los centros de salud cuando más lo necesitamos.

Las personas con VIH somos hombres, mujeres, infancias, somos personas migrantes, personas no binarias, somos personas usuarias de sustancias, podemos ser cualquier persona en cualquier lugar. Somos personas que simplemente por el hecho de estar con vida merecemos una vida tranquila en la que no se nos criminalice por vivir con un virus.

Sobre las lamentables declaraciones de la señora Ohana, también es importante mencionar que existimos mujeres con VIH y que existen infancias con VIH y que políticas que criminalizan transmitir el virus bajo el argumento de la violencia sexual, también nos criminaliza a nosotras.

Creemos que en lugar de hablar de nosotres como depredadores sexuales y pensar que vamos a transmitir el virus de forma voluntaria, la labor del Estado y la opinión pública debe ser discutir y trabajar por crear políticas que aseguren el acceso a la salud de forma solidaria, oportuna y humana.

Aún queda mucho trabajo que hacer en el país cuando se habla de VIH, por ejemplo están estos problemas:

Aún mueren personas por causas relacionadas al sida.
Aún hay hermanas trans que viven violencia dentro del sistema de salud costarricense.
Aún hay muchos obstáculos para que le den el visto bueno a una mujer para que se haga pruebas de VIH.
Aún hay constantes problemas logísticos que afectan el acceso al tratamiento.
Aún no se han aprobado normas y reglamentos que hagan cumplir lo escrito en la Reforma de la Ley Integral de VIH-sida 9797

“Por ello queremos exhortar a CONASIDA, a las representaciones de sociedad ante CONASIDA, al Ministerio de Salud y a todas las personas que se deseen sumar a presionar a las distintas autoridades estatales para que propongan políticas, leyes, normas y reglamentos que acaben con los problemas citados existen en el país cuando se habla de VIH”, expresaron.

“Para lograrlo es necesario dejar atrás políticas basadas en el odio y generar políticas que sanen las heridas de desigualdad que este país ha causado en las personas con VIH a lo largo de la historia”, concluyeron.

Russia: Parliament to consider requirement for certificate indicating HIV status before marriage

Russians may be obliged to report their HIV status before getting married

The decision on the need to provide certificates has already been taken in Ingushetia.

In the State Duma it has been proposed to require Russians to disclose their HIV status before marriage. This proposal was expressed in conversation with the tg-channel “Abzats” deputy Vitaly Milonov. The decision on the need to provide certificates has already been adopted in Ingushetia.

Milonov said that he supports such an initiative and considers it worthy of being adopted at the federal level. The obligation to provide a certificate confirming the absence of HIV, he said, “will save families from many risks”.

The Ingush authorities are discussing the possibility of a complete ban on marriage without a certificate. As well as fines for the parents of the groom, in case the marriage broke up due to detected deception.

Milonov suggested softening the law at the federal level and not to prohibit marriage because of a positive certificate, as the decision should be made by the spouses themselves.

Россиян могут обязать отчитываться о своем ВИЧ-статусе перед заключением бракаРешение о необходимости предоставления справок уже приняли в Ингушетии.

В Госдуме предложили обязать россиян отчитываться о своем ВИЧ-статусе перед заключением брака. Такое предложение высказал в разговоре с тг-каналом «Абзац» депутат Виталий Милонов. Решение о необходимости предоставления справок уже приняли в Ингушетии.

Милонов заявил, что поддерживает подобную инициативу и считает ее достойной федерального уровня. Обязанность предоставлять справку, подтверждающую отсутствие ВИЧ, по его словам, «спасет семьи от многих рисков».

Напомним, что власти Ингушетии обсуждают возможность полного запрета на вступление в брак без справки. А также штрафы для родителей жениха, в случае если брак распался из-за выявленного обмана.

Милонов предлагает смягчить закон на федеральном уровне и не запрещать бракосочетание из-за справки с положительным результатом, так как решение должны принимать сами супруги.

US: New Mexico looking at introducing HIV Criminalisation law for negligent exposure to HIV

HIV cases could prompt new legislation over spa practices

“A bill and legislation put forth that would criminalize this specific behavior is most definitely warranted. We would support it for sure,” the NM Attorney General’s office said.

VIP Beauty Salon and Spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was shut down on Sept. 7, 2018, after undergoing an inspection by the New Mexico Department of Health. According to NMDOH, they identified practices that led to blood-borne infections. As of 2023, five former clients have been infected with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

X, 62, pleaded guilty to five felony counts of practicing medicine without a license in June 2022. On October 5, 2022, X was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

What is a ‘Vampire Facial?’

  • Plasma-rich protein facial.
  • Procedure draws blood, then separates plasma from the blood using a centrifuge.
  • Injects plasma into your skin (face) to create a “youthful look.”

“This would be a situation where people who were infected would be dealing with it in the court system. There are some ways that prosecutors can use existing laws to address this exposure, especially if you could point out that there’s basically criminal negligence, if that’s the case,” KOAT legal analyst John Day said.

“New Mexico hasn’t chosen to criminalize the exposure the way other states have. That’s certainly an issue that could be addressed. However, it points out the importance of doing research. If you’re going into any kind of medical clinic, you need to be doing some due diligence. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” Day added.

Belize: Parliament approves repeal of HIV criminalisation provisions

Outdated HIV-AIDS laws removed from books

by Marco Lopez

BELMOPAN, Fri. June 30, 2023

The Criminal Code was amended during Friday’s Sitting of the House of Representatives to repeal provisions related to the deliberate and reckless spreading of HIV-AIDS. During his presentation on the amendment, Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Kevin Bernard explained that the punitive laws pose barriers to treating the illness. The bill, which was taken through all its stages and passed, will go to the Senate for final assent and is aimed at encouraging infected persons to seek treatment.

Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia rose to remind the House that 22 years ago she was the member who brought the amendments to the National Assembly.

“It really is a momentous day for me – on this particular repeal proposal. I must admit to the honorable House that some 22 years ago, I was the minister at the time who really pushed and promoted the criminalization of the knowing or reckless transmission of HIV. We felt at the time, Madam Speaker, that it was the correct and responsible thing to do, and it may have had its day, like I say, 22, 23 years ago,” Balderamos Garcia said.

Since then, the creation of antiretroviral medication to treat HIV has made the ailment one that infected persons can live with. The human rights approach in tackling the HIV endemic has resulted in a shift of methodology in addressing the stigma and discrimination which prevent persons from getting to know their status and seeking treatment.

The repeal of the law also remedies an unintended effect of the legislation which criminalized infected mothers who would transmit the virus to their offspring during childbirth.

She maintained that other areas of the Criminal Code can address cases of reckless transmission of the virus, and explained that the spread of other sexually transmitted illnesses like the Human Papillomavirus or gonorrhea were not criminalized.

All these bills were taken through all stages during Friday’s sitting and will go to the Senate for assent.

US: Nearly 200 people have been charged under Ohio’s antiquated HIV-criminalization laws

Ohio’s ‘unjust’ HIV-criminalization laws still in effect, state’s revised code shows


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio is home to several statutes criminalizing HIV, including a felony charge and prison sentence for those with the virus who fail to disclose their status to sexual partners.

HIV-positive Ohioans can be charged with second-degree felonious assault and receive a prison sentence of up to eight years for engaging in sexual conduct without divulging their medical history, Ohio’s Revised Code states. Ohio law also bars those with HIV from donating blood or plasma and penalizes those individuals for exposing others to their bodily fluid, like by spitting or biting.

However, HIV is not transmitted through saliva or unbroken skin and there are no documented cases of the virus spreading through spitting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those living with HIV also cannot pass the virus through sex when they have reached an undetectable level of HIV in their blood, achieved through medication estimated to be 100% effective.

These antiquated laws have more severe punishments than for reckless homicide, sexual battery, or arson, according to the Ohio Health Modernization Movement. The organization has led the movement calling for reform of Ohio’s provisions that “incorrectly assume an HIV diagnosis is a death sentence.”

“The impact of Ohio’s unjust HIV laws reach far beyond their original intention,” the OHMM said. “They are unproductive because they are unsupported by science. This has led to unjust felony convictions that punish not only the perceived perpetrator, but the community at large.”

Nearly 200 charges under Ohio’s HIV-criminalization laws

One hundred and ninety-two cases across 65 Ohio counties have been confirmed to be connected to statutes criminalizing HIV, according to the OHMM. Of those cases, 104 have been charged for spitting, 60 for felonious assault, 13 for solicitation, four for loitering and one for prostitution.

The OHMM argues the HIV-related criminal prosecutions, of which more than a dozen have been tried in the last few years, are costly. Ohio spends more than $1 billion a year to run its prison system, at a cost of more than $25,000 an inmate.

“The money spent to incarcerate people under HIV criminal laws would be better spent on HIV prevention efforts and supporting the over 20,000 Ohioans living with HIV,” the organization said.

Further, there is no evidence that HIV criminalization laws promote public health by increasing disclosure, HIV testing or practice of safe sex, the OHMM said. The laws have also had zero impact on rates of HIV diagnosis.

The OHMM has built a coalition with Equality Ohio, Equitas Health and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to call for significant alterations to Ohio’s Revised Code. The group proposals outline several changes including requiring prosecution to prove that a person intentionally transmitted HIV and switching all HIV-specific charges from a felony to a misdemeanor.

“Ohio’s six separate HIV criminalization laws are not based in science, they do not promote public health, and they perpetuate dangerous stigma against people living with HIV,” the organization said. “The time to modernize Ohio’s HIV laws is now.”

Thousands in Ohio living with HIV

More than 27,000 Ohioans are living with HIV and nearly 9,000 are taking a form of medication called PrEP, according to data from AIDSVu and the Ohio Department of Health.

PrEP is a once-daily pill taken to reduce a patient’s likelihood of developing HIV from sex or injection drug use. PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed, according to the CDC.

There are two pills available for use as PrEP: Truvada and Descovy. Truvada is for patients at risk through sex or injection drug use, while Descovy is for patients only at risk through sex. PrEP can also be taken through a shot known as Apretude.

Data shows the number of PrEP prescriptions in Ohio has been steadily increasing while the rate of transmission has been slowly decreasing over the past decade.

However, a federal ruling recently struck down provisions requiring health insurance to provide free preventative care services, like PrEP. In response to the ruling, the Justice Department requested a court order to halt the decision while the case is appealed. In the interim, insurers and employers are able to decide whether to continue covering preventative healthcare.

Still, programs have been established that provide PrEP for free or at a reduced cost. Learn more here.

Uganda: Bill retaining death penalty for having gay sex when HIV positive sent back to President for signing

Uganda parliament passes harsh anti-LGBTQ bill mostly unchanged

KAMPALA, May 2 (Reuters) – Uganda’s parliament on Tuesday passed one of the world’s strictest anti-LGBTQ bills mostly unchanged, including provision for long jail terms and the death penalty, after the president requested some parts of the original legislation be toned down.

The new bill retains most of the harshest measures of the legislation adopted in March, which drew condemnation from the United States, European Union, United Nations and major corporations.

The provisions retained in the new bill allow for the death penalty in cases of so-called “aggravated homosexuality”, a term the government uses to describe actions including having gay sex when HIV-positive.

It allows a 20-year sentence for promoting homosexuality, which activists say could criminalise any advocacy for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer citizens.

The legislation now heads back to President Yoweri Museveni, who can sign it, veto it or return it again to parliament.

Museveni, a vocal opponent of LGBTQ rights, has signalled he intends to sign the legislation once certain changes are made, including the addition of measures to “rehabilitate” gay people.

It was not immediately clear if the new bill satisfied his requests, and his office was not available for comment.

The legislation was amended to stipulate that merely identifying as LGBTQ is not a crime. It also revised a measure that obliged people to report homosexual activity to only require reporting when a child is involved.


Human rights activist Adrian Jjuuko dismissed the first amendment regarding LGBTQ identification as “useless”.

“In practice, the police doesn’t care about whether you’ve committed the act or not. They will arrest you for acting like gay, walking like gay,” he said.

Same-sex relations are already illegal in Uganda under a British colonial-era law. LGBTQ individuals routinely face arrest and harassment by law enforcement, and passage of the bill in March unleashed a wave of arrests, evictions and mob attacks, members of the community say.

Proponents of the bill say broad legislation is needed to counter what they allege, without evidence, are efforts by LGBTQ Ugandans to recruit children into homosexuality.

After a voice vote on Tuesday that followed less than a half-hour of debate, parliament speaker Anita Among urged lawmakers to remain defiant in the face of international criticism.

“Let’s protect Ugandans, let’s protect our values, our virtues,” Among said. “The Western world will not come and rule Uganda.”

Western governments suspended aid, imposed visa restrictions and curtailed security cooperation in response to another anti-LGBTQ law Museveni signed in 2014. That law was nullified within months by a domestic court on procedural grounds.

The U.S. government said last week that it was assessing the implications of the looming law for activities in Uganda under its flagship HIV/AIDS programme.

Kenya: People living with HIV will continue to lobby for change after disappointing High Court decision

“HIV is not a crime!” – People living with HIV disappointed by High Court judgment in HIV criminalisation case

31 March 2023 – Nairobi, Kenya
Communities of people living with and affected by HIV are disappointed with the Nairobi High Court’s decision dismissing Petition 447 of 2018.

This is a Petition was filed in December 2018, that asked that the Court declare section 26 of the Sexual Offences Act 3 of 2006 to be unconstitutional, void and invalid, and therefore struck from the law. This law criminalises deliberate transmission and or exposure of life-threatening sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. The manner in which it has been interpreted has caused harm to persons living with HIV.

On 20 December 2022, Justice Ong’udi in the Nairobi High Court dismissed the
Petition, upholding the law’s constitutionality.

“We are disappointed with the judgment. Evidence from across the world shows us that criminalisation does not prevent HIV transmission. It makes effective HIV testing, treatment and disclosure harder and it increases stigma and discrimination”, said Carlin Kizito.

The communities were particularly concerned that the law leaves women living with HIV vulnerable to unjust prosecution. “Women are usually the first to find out about their
HIV status when they test during pregnancy. Because of this, the law makes them vulnerable to prosecution because they will be assumed to be the one who brought HIV into the relationship even when this is not the case,
” said Jerop Limo, Executive Director of Adolescent and Youth Reproductive Health Program (AYARHEP)

Maurine Murenga of Lean on Me Foundation said that the State does not have the means to prove scientifically that one person necessarily transmitted HIV to another.
She said further, “Laws like this also spread misinformation about HIV. We’ve seen a number of women living with HIV being prosecuted for breastfeeding, yet breastfeeding guidelines state that breastfeeding is safe for women on HIV treatment. In fact, the World Health Organisation recommends it.” Maurine further added that “HIV is not a crime or a death sentence. With effective treatment, you can live a long and healthy life. Effective treatment also makes HIV undetectable and therefore untransmissible. Testing, treatment and support should be our focus, not punishment,”

Bozzi Ongala of the Adolescent and Youth Reproductive Health Program (AYARHEP) spoke on the need for using science to improve laws on HIV, “We urge that there be a progressive updates in the law in response to Scientific advancements on HIV research.”

“We, the networks of people living with HIV are encouraged that the Petitioners intend to appeal the judgment. We shall continue to lobby the government to change the law. On behalf of people living with HIV, we look forward to positive justice.” said Patricia Asero of ICW Kenya.

  1. Adolescent and Youth Reproductive Health Program (AYARHEP)
  2. ICW Kenya
  4. Operation Hope Community Based Organization
  5. Network of People Living with HIV (NEPHAK)
  6. Lean on Me
  8. YPLUS Kenya