Is the United Nations About to Play Hard Ball (With AIDS) Over Uganda’s Gay Bill?


The African AIDS Vaccine Programme, a giant United Nations and World Health Organisation-run institution pushing vaccination research efforts across the continent, is being moved from Geneva to a more geographically sensible location: Uganda’s Entebbe. Except that might all change if Uganda approves the Kill The Gays bill.

It’s impossible to tell whether thinly veiled threats to yank AAVP from Uganda are real or just empty threats. But at least the United Nations is publicly taunting Uganda with tangibles. The United States, of course, has just 24 words — and zero threats of action — devoted to the subject.

“Criminalising adult consensual sex is not only a human rights issue, it goes against a good HIV strategy,” said Catherine Hankins, the chief scientific advisor for UNAIDS, which alongside the World Health Organisation backs the AAVP.

“If the bill passes, UNAIDS and WHO would have to decide what happens and to see whether this is an appropriate place,” she told AFP.

Uganda’s AIDS Commission director Kihumuro Apuuli welcomed UN’s selection of Entebbe as the AAVP headquarters, but has been silent about the bill, which has been widely condemned by human rights and public health officials.

But recently Apuuli said men who have sex with men were not a priority group in Uganda’s fight against HIV.

(Pictured: Peter Tatchell and other gay activists at a rally outside Uganda House in London last week; via Reuters)