Sippel: The Role of US Aid in Uganda's Gender Discrimination

U.S.-backed programs on the fight against AIDS and HIV in Uganda have, to some extent, contributed to the murder of a Ugandan gay rights activist, an expert suggests.

David Kato, was beaten to death with a hammer in his home on Jan. 26. Serra Sippel, president of the Washington-based Center for Health and Gender Equity, attributes Kato’s murder to “a staggering climate of intolerance that has been fueled by local media, religious leaders and politicians, and in part by discriminatory U.S.-funded programs.”

Sippel explains that U.S.-funded HIV/AIDS programs in Uganda are “inherently” against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered individuals and even women.

The U.S. “[assumes] and reinforce[s] the idea that everyone is heterosexual, everyone is going to get married, and everyone has control over when and with whom they and their partner have sex; ideas that are flat-out wrong and result in useless HIV interventions and rancid discrimination. There is no justification; personal belief and morality are not excuses for perpetuating HIV infection and stigma that leads to slaughter. It stops now,” Sippel writes in The Huffington Post.

Sippel urges the U.S. government to cancel funding for “Abstinence-Be Faithful focused (AB) HIV interventions,” which she says have “zero effect” on HIV infection rates, as well as U.S. financing for faith-based organizations that “reinforce societal structures and norms that perpetuate homophobia and women’s inequality and discrimination, vulnerabilities to HIV infection, violence, stigmatization, subordination, and abuse.”

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.

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