Los legisladores de Uganda han aprobado una ley que criminaliza la transmisión ‛premeditada e intencionada’ del VIH.

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Newly-diagnosed HIV-positive woman receives treatment at the Mildmay Uganda clinic, Kampala, Feb. 27, 2014.

Ugandan lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill criminalizing the “willful and intentional” transmission of HIV.

The bill imposes jail sentences of up to 10 years for those found guilty and also requires pregnant women and their partners to get tested for the virus.

Parliamentarian Peter Aleper told local television last week that people who knowingly transmit HIV are dangerous to others.

Health workers and civil society groups have spoken out against the bill, saying it will do nothing to curb Uganda’s rising infection rate. Many argue the bill will further stigmatize people who are HIV positive.

According to Margaret Happy of the National Forum of People Living With HIV AIDS Networks in Uganda, the risk of criminalization is likely keep people from getting tested.

The legislation follows Uganda's recent enactment of a tough new law that imposes life sentences in prison for committing some homosexual acts.

In recent years, a number of other African countries have passed laws against transmitting HIV, including Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Other countries, and some American states, also have such laws. Other countries, including some European nations, have prosecuted people for transmitting HIV under different laws against harming others.

The Ugandan bill needs President Yoweri Museveni's signature to become law.

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Networks of Women Living with HIV issued a press release condemning the passage of the HIV Prevention and AIDS Control Bill 2010 by the Uganda 9th Parliament. The Bill endangers the lives of Ugandans, women living with HIV and further undermines Uganda’s already backsliding response to HIV. Download the press release below.

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