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PEPFAR Coordinator: Don’t Link Uganda Funding To Anti-Homosexuality Act

Jim Burroway

November 27th, 2009

Newsweek’s Katie Paul spoke to Eric Goosby, chief coordinator for the President’s emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) about Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act instituting the death penalty against gays under certain circumstances. The bill would also outlaw all advocacy and outreach toward and on behalf of the LGBT community, making HIV/AIDS prevention work impossible. Linking to some of BTB’s reporting, Paul asks Goosby about the administrations plans for PEPFAR in Uganda should the legislation go forward:

I’m very concerned about any decision that any country—including our own—would make to target a group that’s in the population, and that’s always been in the population, by excluding them from a service or passes legislation that criminalizes their behavior. Every time you do that, you push the behavior underground. It never works. Rather than minimizing the spread of the virus, it actually amplifies it.

The U.S. policy is trying to work with governments to say exactly that. I think I would do more harm than good by connecting our resources to respond to the epidemic to making them dependent on a behavior that they’re not willing to engage in on their own. My role is to be supportive and helpful to the patients who need these services. It is not to tell a country how to put forward their legislation. But I will engage them in conversation around my concern and knowledge of what this is going to do to that population, and our ability to stop the movement of the virus into the general population.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Comments

Jack
November 27th, 2009 | LINK

This guy makes not even the vaguest condemnation of Uganda’s being poised to make homosexuality a capital crime.

I am really beginning to wonder if Obama and his people aren’t worse than Bush. As much as a couldn’t stand Bush, I at least got the feeling that he was only engaging in anti-gay politics for political reasons, and even then half-heartedly.

I see Obama engaging in pro-gay rhetoric entirely for political reasons and then giving us the shaft in every way possible, and so unapologetically that I think they do it with glee.

Leo
November 27th, 2009 | LINK

I had to read that tortured second paragraph 3 times to make sense of it.

So an administration official is basically saying the only legitimate reason for him to oppose these draconian laws is that they might impede some peoples access to HIV treatment and prevention? Other than that, he, as an Obama administration official and someone with a public health background has no ethical/moral point of view on the criminalization of homosexuality. None. His job is to just distribute condoms and drugs.

I can understand—up to a point— the lack of fortitude on issues like marriage and DADT, but now we can’t can’t even expect a clear denunciation of blatant thuggery and malice?

I’ll be e-mailing my senators and congressman, all democrats, before the weekend is out.

Truth Wins Out - U.S. Official Defends Gross Misuse of AIDS Funds in Uganda
November 27th, 2009 | LINK

[...] Hat tip: Box Turtle Bulletin [...]

Mike Airhart, TWO
November 27th, 2009 | LINK

Hillary Clinton is Goosby’s boss. I think the order to defend Uganda’s funding had to come from her office.

John
November 27th, 2009 | LINK

I have two major issues with PEPFAR funding in Uganda.

One centers on whether providing these funds is luring gay people to treatment centers where they could be compromised, arrested and executed for being gay and HIV positive (this assumes passage of the proposed legislation-which isn’t at all certain). The US government cannot under any circumstances justify providing the inducement to lure Ugandans to their death.

The second bigger question has to do with our involvement in Uganda. Sen Inhofe and “The Family” have been directing funds to this country. I worry that these funds have not been directed to organizations doing good work, but instead to organizations aligned with the dictator, Mouseveni, and furthering the interests of The Family over the interests of the United States and the Ugandan people.

I think that the Inspector General’s Office should do a detailed investigation of the funds, the recipients, the programs, the costs, the corruption and the gains that have or have not been realized. I do not want the US Government coffers being used for the personal pet projects of Sen. Inhofe and his Family.

Joehio
November 28th, 2009 | LINK

The Obama administration IS worse than the Bush administration for LGBTs. I never thought I’d say that, but this is the last straw. I suspect some of these creepy members of “the Family” are actually part of the current administration and Democratic leadership, as we know Stupak and Pitts in fact are. Another thing I never thought I would say: If the “Draft Cheney” people succeed in getting Dick Cheney on the Republican ticket for 2012, I will be voting for Cheney against Obama. Hopefully there will be a primary challenge within the Democratic party, or some credible third party candidates, to give me a more palatable set of options.

sammyseattle
November 30th, 2009 | LINK

Exactly what does Mr. Goosby mean by “the movement of the virus into the general population” ? It is my understanding that unlike in the US, HIV is already a affecting the “general population”.