MPs back controversial Bill criminalising intensional spread of HIVAids

PARLIAMENT. As the debate on the controversial HIVAids Prevention and Control Bill that among others criminalises the intentional spread of HIVAids rages on, the lawmakers who sit on the joint Parliamentary Health and HIVAids committees have supported a contested proposal that makes it a crime for those who “willfully and intentionally” transmit HIVAids to others.

The MPs who are making final touches to the private members’ Bill reasoned that criminalising the intentional spread would act as a long-term solution to combating the spread of the virus.

Whereas the MPs had removed a clause which subjects offenders who intentionally infect others with HIV to life imprisonment and replaced it with a 10-year imprisonment penalty upon conviction, they stayed over the clause yesterday saying the punishment must be revised and a heavier one re-introduced.

Grave offence“We want to make the punishment stiffer because the offence seems to be of a grave nature,” said Ms Connie Galiwango,(Mbale women). The law makers have resisted pressure from human rights activists, who are opposed to some clauses in the Bill. The human rights activists say that some clauses particularly on criminalisation of HIV and mandatory testing are unnecessary and violate international human rights standards.

The Bill, a private members’ initiative, was tabled by legislators on the Parliamentary HIVAids Committee during the 8th Parliament and has been pending for some time.


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