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President Museveni's Visit Protested by HIV/AIDS Experts
Date:11/2/2007

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This week in Washington, experts and activists on global health and HIV/AIDS protested a visit by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, acting on concerns raised by a number of Ugandan organizations and human rights groups. Mr. Museveni visited the US to give a speech on AIDS policy, sponsored by a number of US organizations, and to meet with President Bush.

"Ugandans deserve respect and recognition for their hard work in fighting HIV/AIDS, yet it is wrong for the sponsors of Museveni's speech to praise his leadership on AIDS," said Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance. The sponsors stated their intention was to honor the "leadership and guidance in the fight against AIDS" provided by Mr. Museveni.

"In Uganda, President Museveni and his wife have ample opportunities to express their polarizing and stigmatizing opinions, so why should Museveni be given a platform to do so in the US? The sponsors of his talk, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Africare, Africa Society, and Constituency for Africa are misguided in choosing to honor President Museveni," he said.

Human Rights Watch, in a letter to President Bush prior to his meeting with President Museveni, urged Bush to raise human rights concerns. The group called attention to Museveni's statements, noting: "President Museveni's statements and parliament's proposed criminalization of HIV transmission will only undermine the fight against a worsening epidemic by creating an environment of blame and discrimination."

In earlier years, Museveni's administration showed leadership in promoting a comprehensive approach to AIDS. More recently, however, President Museveni has veered away from evidence-based approaches that respect human rights, instead promoting abstinence-only strategies and condemning condom distribution:

* He has said that condoms are only appropriate for "high risk" g
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SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance
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