AVAC Response to Uganda’s Constitutional Court Ruling on the Anti-Homosexuality Act 

April 3, 2024

AVAC is gravely concerned with the Constitutional Court of Uganda’s recent decision to uphold the core provisions of the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 (AHA) that was signed into law nearly one year ago. AVAC stands in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community in Uganda, and globally, in calling out this dangerous law. 

“We had hoped that the AHA would be repealed in its entirety, as it is a clear violation of the health, rights and humanity of the LGBTQIA+ community, and will undermine and reverse Uganda’s progress in HIV prevention, destroying community wellbeing and taking lives along the way,” said Angelo Katumba, Senior Program Manager at AVAC. “We’ve seen the direct link between criminalization and stigma and the devastating impact both have on HIV incidence. Even with the partial repeal of four provisions within the law, the AHA remains in place and will continue to drive people underground, discouraging the most vulnerable populations from seeking testing, treatment and prevention, and they will setback the fight against HIV.” 

The Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 (AHA) was brought to the Constitutional Court of Uganda for ruling on its legality late last year with advocates challenging the constitutionality of the law before the courts for months. Civil society advocates for LGBTQIA+ and HIV prevention have worked tirelessly over the years to change attitudes and policy in Uganda and around the world. The failure to nullify this law in full intensifies the threats faced by communities that have fought tirelessly for safety and recognition. Advocates are expected to repeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Uganda.  

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act is one of the world’s most extreme anti-gay laws, enacted at a time when several other countries, including the US, are seeing the right to health undermined through legal action and anti-LGBTQIA+ laws on the increase. Today, the Uganda’s Constitutional Court even referenced the 2022 United States’ Supreme Court opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization as part of its justification for the legality of the Uganda AHA.  

“It is deeply disturbing to see how Uganda’s attack on human rights and evidence-based public health is influenced by and coordinated with extremist views in the US and on the US Supreme Court,” said Mitchell Warren, AVAC’s executive director. “This is a staggering message that a rights-based approach to healthcare is imperiled in many countries by reactionary movements that are gaining strength from each other.”  

“We must stand up and fight back against these laws everywhere or we will never end any epidemic. We stand in solidarity with all allies and partners committed to turning the tide from hate and fear to global health equity for all,” Warren added. 

Since the Ugandan law was passed last year, the number of clients attending drop-in centres providing HIV prevention and treatment services to key populations, including men who have sex with men, dropped from an average of 40 per week to two.