Demand USAID to Stop Funding HIV Criminalization Laws in Africa!
  • Petitioned Sean Carroll

This petition was delivered to:

Chief of Staff, USAID
Sean Carroll
Director of USAID Global Health’s Office of HIV/AIDS
Robert Clay
Deputy Administrator, USAID
Donald Steinberg
Counselor, USAID
Hilda M. Arellano
Administrator, USAID
Dr. Rajiv Shah

Demand USAID to Stop Funding HIV Criminalization Laws in Africa!

    1. Elizabeth Lombino
    2. Petition by

      Elizabeth Lombino

      New York, NJ

There has been much debate around the issue of HIV Criminalization in recent years. This is the idea that those individuals who are HIV+ and infect another person can (and should) be brought up on criminal charges. The details are fuzzy and most often the media has focused on extreme cases. This is within our country.

In Africa, HIV Criminalization is rampant and supported by many African country officials. Ugandan parliament submitted a bill last year that would make HIV Criminalization a law. It is now being revealed that U.S. efforts are providing funding to similar HIV Criminalization efforts across Africa.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been financing the Action for West Africa Region HIV-AIDS program which has been instrumental in creating and enforcing more aggressive HIV/AIDS policies across Africa. This has translated into developing a “model” HIV-specific criminal law.

USAID has been providing funding for these efforts since 2004. Prior to this effort, there were no HIV Criminalization laws in any country in Africa. Now, there are at least 27 African countries with active laws.

It seems the original efforts of AWARE were to reduce stigma of HIV+ adults and also protect those at risk of contracting HIV. These are noble efforts. Yet clearly something has been lost in the translation. The language is vague, there is room for too loose translation and several countries who have adopted the "model" have then made their own revisions. Cases in point: In Togo, sex without a condom is illegal, regardless of a person's HIV status; in Benin, no HIV transmission is even required - if an HIV+ individual engages in "unprotected sexual relations" with another person, it is a crime; in Burundi, a "willful" transmitter of HIV can be tried for murder.

Stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV/AIDS and homophobia are rampant in Africa. On January 26, David Kato, a prominent gay activist, was murdered in Uganda. Many believe that American influence, particularly of evangelicals, is the reason for Uganda's severe anti-homosexuality stance. Uganda is also clearly stigmatizing those living with HIV/AIDS. Now Ugandan officials are working to criminalize HIV+ individuals as well.

Africa has a history of intolerance and severe reactions to that which is considered "wrong". America cannot continue to play a role in influencing or condoning these actions. America cannot continue to fund hate. Please join us in demanding USAID to stop funding HIV Criminalization Laws in Africa!

Photo Credit: Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 500 signatures
    2. USAID Continues Funding for HIV-Criminalization in Africa

      Michael Jones
      Senior Campaign Director

      Funding by the United States for HIV-Criminalization continues in Africa.
      In Africa, HIV criminalization is rampant and supported by many country officials. Ugandan parliamentarians submitted a bill last year that would make HIV criminalization a...

    3. Why HIV Criminalization Laws Do Not Work

      Michael Jones
      Senior Campaign Director

      We recently reported that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been financing HIV criminalization laws within Africa. The program, entitled Action for West Africa Region HIV-AIDS program (AWARE), has been instrumental in...

    4. Reached 250 signatures
    5. American Tax Dollars Used to Fund HIV Criminalization in Africa

      Michael Jones
      Senior Campaign Director

      There has been much debate around the issue of HIV criminalization in recent years. This is the idea that those individuals who are HIV+ and infect another person can (and should) be brought up on criminal charges. The details are fuzzy and most...

    6. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Shauna Pauly ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL
      • over 3 years ago

      Seriously... there needs to be education on safe sex practices, and how to keep from getting HIV or AIDS. Education is the answer instead of criminalizing people for things they do not know about! These people in Africa and not just there but other countries need help, they need to be educated on how to protect themselves and have sanitary places and be able to have contraceptives especially women!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Amie White NY, NY
      • over 3 years ago

      I just finished writing a 30 page final for my graduate studies on this issue. After spending LOTS of time researching both sides of the debate, I feel confident that I know of know legitimate justification for the continuation of US funding of HIV Criminalization laws in Africa.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Judith Pecho CORRALES, NM
      • over 3 years ago

      This is an absurd proposal to prosecute those who transmit HIV to another. It cannot be proven. It takes time for the virus to appear. You might as well put a fence around your country since your prisons would over swell. It is the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies who experimented with chimpanzees in Africa using their blood for mediums to grow viruses they were trying to prevent. Seems it might have been TB. That was when the virus was transferred from apes to humans. They were using people in the country to test their so called vaccine on. Many people died, as did many of the unfortunate chimps caught for this experiment. Sue the pharmaceutical companies.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Max Waller PACOIMA, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      We need to prove we care about others not just our interests.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Leslie Gray OLYMPIA, WA
      • over 3 years ago

      Condoms not Criminals!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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