As a major human rights activist in Uganda, I find myself facing significant challenges following the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
Our organization has been dedicated to providing crucial medical harm reduction interventions to the LGBTQI community, particularly those who use drugs. These interventions include the provision of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and other essential HIV/Aids services. However, the passing of the Act has disrupted our work and thrown it into disarray.
The Act specifically targets individuals who are already marginalized by society and are in desperate need of health services and support. The LGBTQI individuals who use drugs now live in constant fear of community violence due to the heightened stigma and discrimination perpetuated by this law.
Moreover, they are forced to hide their HIV/Aids medication from their own families, creating additional barriers to managing their health conditions and drug dependence.
Punitive laws like the Anti- Homosexuality Act have severe consequences on public health. They push individuals further away from accessing essential health and social services that are vital for managing drug dependence, preventing the transmission of HIV/Aids, and supporting individuals to live full and productive lives.
By further criminalizing LGBTQI individuals who use drugs, this law effectively pushes them into the shadows, leaving them isolated and vulnerable. The fear of repercussions and societal judgment makes people afraid to speak up and seek the much-needed medical help they require.