Category Archives: Uganda

AIDS As a Moral Disease, Once Again: How Government Policies on Abstinence Promotion Teach Old-School HIV Stigma in the U.S. and Uganda

by Suzy Subways, Editor, Solidarity Project

DECEMBER 2006 • Issue 2

People often talk about stigma when describing challenges in fighting HIV/AIDS. Stigma can underlie a spectrum of human rights violations—from neighborhood snubbing or family rejection to denial of medical care, to outright mob violence and murder. Suggested remedies range from what can be painstakingly slow cultural work and sensitivity training to aggressive enforcement of legal protections. But what is the solution when stigma is a top-down phenomenon?

Governments can infuse HIV stigma deeply into a nation, with cold, hard cash to back it up—operating at levels of power far above the misinformed family that sets a paper plate and plastic ware at the HIV+ person’s place-setting at holiday visits. As we arm individuals to fight stigma at the family and community level, we also need to demand that governments stop spreading stigma and start addressing its consequences.

There is now ample evidence that the funding of abstinence-only policies brings systemic promotion of HIV stigma. And the data show that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs don’t work for preventing HIV. If we can pull their massive funding—especially in the U.S. and Uganda, which are held up as models for other countries—we’ll also dismantle a powerful source of stigma and blame that hurts people living with HIV as well as members of marginalized groups like sex workers, LGBT people, and sexually active girls and women. Continue reading

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Stigma-Smashing Links

“In Their Own Words,” a horror show of what U.S. abstinence-only programs teach

The Education of Shelby Knox – a 2005 PBS docudrama about a virginity-pledging Texas girl who becomes a pro-condom sex-ed and gay-rights activist

Uganda’s HIV prevention controversy, from South Africa’s Health-e, 8/14/06

Beatrice Were, profiled by Women’s e-news, 2/21/06

Beatrice Were interview with UNAIDS, 11/28/06

Pan-African Treatment Access Movement statement against abstinence-only policies, 11/30/05

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Take Action: Stop U.S. Government-Funded HIV Stigma Worldwide

DECEMBER 2006 • Issue 2

The PATHWAY (Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth Act of 2006) Act was introduced by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) in the House. It would help fix Bush’s global AIDS initiative, known as PEPFAR. It would eliminate the requirement that one-third of all prevention dollars be spent on abstinence-only programs. It would also address the real prevention needs of women and girls by helping community organizations that promote women’s rights. Check out the “Legislation and Policy” section at PEPFARWatch for more information. Continue reading

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Filed under disaster capitalism, gay and bisexual men, gender, imperialism/colonialism, sex education, Solidarity Project, stigma, trans and gender non-conforming, Uganda, Uncategorized, women, youth