Critics Say Uganda’s New HIV Law a Giant Step Backward


A Ugandan bill criminalizing the “willful” transmission of HIV and mandating HIV tests for certain groups is awaiting the president’s signature to become law. Such a law could be a setback in the country’s fight against AIDS.

The bill President Yoweri Museveni will be asked to sign hands out lengthy jail terms for those convicted of intentionally spreading HIV, or attempting to spread it. It also mandates testing for pregnant women and victims of sexual assault, among others.

Ugandan MP Chris Baryomunsi told local journalists he supports the bill because it punishes people who threaten the community.

“The law is not unfairly targeting anybody, but rather it is addressing somebody who has tested for HIV and knows his or her status and, out of malice, intentionally wants to infect others,” said Baryomunsi.

But many experts say the bill is a giant step backward in the fight against Uganda’s HIV epidemic. Civil society and HIV activists have rallied against it. Even the government-run Uganda AIDS Commission refuses to support the bill.

But Dorah Musinguzi, of the Ugandan Network on Law, Ethics and HIV/AIDS, says their efforts so far have been futile.

“The Uganda AIDS Commission came out, and the Ministry of Health in some ways. But this has not been bought. A wise nation at this particular moment would have seen what the technical people are advising,” said Musinguzi.

One concern, Musinguzi says, is the effect the law would have on people’s decision to get tested. You can only be prosecuted under the law if you know your HIV status, she points out.

“According to statistics, Ugandans who have tested are 33 percent. Those who have not yet tested are 67 percent,” she said. “If they have not tested when there was no law that threatens them as potential criminals, are they going to test now that there is a law?”

Uganda is not the first to pass laws criminalizing HIV. Paula Donovan, of the New York-based advocacy group AIDS-Free World, says this is becoming a trend in Africa.

“Since about the turn of the century, when there were no HIV-specific laws at all, it appears that there are about 25 countries in Africa that have attempted in one way or another to criminalize specific aspects of HIV. That’s about half the countries in Africa, and it’s expected that other countries will follow,” said Donovan.

Nor is Africa alone. Prosecutions for intentional transmission of HIV are actually more common in the West, says Donovan, although not always under HIV-specific laws.

Despite the growing prevalence of such laws, there is no evidence that they are even necessary, she adds.

“There’s absolutely no evidence that in any country, in any situation, that criminalizing transmission lowers the incidence of HIV. I don’t think there’s any evidence that there is a great incidence of people who are HIV positive who are going around trying to spread the infection to others,” she said.

Civil society activists say they will try to make their case to President Museveni in person before he decides whether or not to sign the bill into law.

Source: voa news

Botox, Tattoo Removal, Now Possible in Kampala


But if you ever need to ditch those wrinkles for a smoother skin, or to remove that annoying tattoo or do hair replacement, you will definitely need it.

Internationally, aesthetic medicine is defined as “a branch of medicine that adheres to scientific-based procedures to enhance patients’ satisfaction with their physical appearance.”

In Uganda, aesthetic medical procedures are provided at Avane Cosmetic Clinic and medical spa along John Babiiha avenue, the International Medical Group and Kampala hospital. Below we explore the dos and don’ts of some of the common procedures.


Botox is a protein, which when injected into a muscle causes it to become inactive or weakened. The most common uses for this treatment is smoothing of the facial wrinkles of the forehead, between the eyes and the corners of the eye and can also be used in the treatment of excessive sweating.

“Once these motor nerve endings are interrupted, the muscles cannot contract. Therefore, the motion that causes wrinkles in the skin will cease,” Dr Chiraag Kotecha, a dermatologist at Avane Cosmetic clinic and medical spa says. “Approximately three to 10 days after treatment, the skin above the motor muscles becomes smooth and nice.”

The effects of Botox last three to four months depending on the amount of protein injected and lifestyle activity of the patient. Do: For the first couple of years, Dr Kotecha recommends frequent treatments (every four to six months) for facial muscles to get used. Thereafter, treatments would be less frequent until a yearly maintenance is usually all that is required.

Don’t: Never let someone unprofessional administer the treatment on you as they may administer too much or too little of the protein.

Laser Hair removal:

Dr Pranav Pancholi, a visiting specialist in advanced non-surgical aesthetic medicine at Avane Cosmetic Clinic, says laser hair removal is more than just plucking out unwanted hairs. It is a medical procedure that reduces the amount of hair growth through a series of treatments, usually over a period of six to eight weeks and should be performed by a qualified physician.

The energy from the laser travels through the hair and destroys the follicle bump containing the cells responsible for hair re-growth,” explains Dr Pancholi. Patients seek hair removal for almost any body part, from the face, legs, arms, neck, back, chest and underarms. However:

Dos: Dr Pancholi advises one to undergo a skin test first to ensure that there will be no adverse side effects. He also advises one to do enough homework about the dermatologist’s qualifications and former clients. Don’t: Never undertake laser procedures if you are on light sensitive medication. Do not seek laser hair removal for gray hair because laser light only responds to dark pigmented hair follicles.

Tattoo removal surgery:

For the last one year, Mary (not real name) has been ridiculed at work for having a tattoo of a star on her left leg. Although she ignored the scoffing at first, it soon got to her and her promotion opportunities were limited because of her outward appearance.

“I was initially influenced by my peers to have the tattoo, but my hubby keeps telling me he does not like it,” she says, “Because it was affecting the attitude towards me at work, I have decided to come to Avane to remove it although it is quite expensive with every session costing me $50 (about Shs 130,000).”

During treatment, special types of lasers known as Harmony XL lasers are used. Dr Kotecha says these are used break the pigment of the tattoo ink, dispersing it in the skin. Dos: Follow all the pre and post-treatment procedures carefully; ask your dermatologist if anything is unclear.

Don’t’s: “After your laser tattoo removal procedure, avoid any activity which submerges the treated area underwater for an extended period of time,” reads an article

Soaking the skin in water for an extended period of time, slows down the healing process and increases risk of infection.

Source; All Africa