Uganda’s AIDS Commission has said that it will not target gay people in its work to reduce HIV infection rates in that country.
The Commission’s head, Kihumuro Apuuli, was quoted by reporters on Monday as saying that “Gays are one of the drivers of HIV in Uganda, but because of meagre resources we cannot direct our programmes at them at this time.”
He said that the organisation’s anti-Aids drive will instead focus on soldiers, sex workers, rural communities and migrant workers.
It is estimated that over one million people are infected with the HI Virus in Uganda.
In October last year, one of Uganda’s leading Muslim clerics, Sheikh Ramathan Shaban Mubajje, recommended that gays and lesbians be exiled on an island by the government.
“If they die there then we shall have no more homosexuals in the country,” he said.
In February, Archbishop Desmond Tutu signed a letter, along with 120 other religious leaders, demanding that the Ugandan government take action to end “verbal assaults and legal attacks of your government on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) people.”
Addressed to President Yoweri Museveni, the letter read: “As a moral leader we know that you do not wish to see Uganda citizens suffer unnecessarily, and we are therefore asking you to call an end to the witch hunt against the most vulnerable in your community…”
Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, with offenders facing up to five years in prison. Same-sex marriage has also been banned.