Conflicts propel AIDS in region

PARLIAMENT - Conflicts in the Great Lakes Region have been cited as one of the major vehicles for the spread of HIV/AIDS. The revelation was made yesterday by Christian Garuka, a consultant with the East Africa Law Society during his presentation at the on-going parliamentary workshop on AIDS.  
Senate president Dr Vincent Biruta
Senate president Dr Vincent Biruta

PARLIAMENT - Conflicts in the Great Lakes Region have been cited as one of the major vehicles for the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The revelation was made yesterday by Christian Garuka, a consultant with the East Africa Law Society during his presentation at the on-going parliamentary workshop on AIDS.

Two million persons are infected with HIV and 12.6 million children orphaned annually by the scourge in the Great Lakes Region, the lawmakers heard.

More people are now being infected by HIV/AIDS as violence against women and girls fuels the spread of the virus.

Garuka said that under international guidelines on HIV, countries should review and reform public health legislation to ensure that it adequately addresses public health issues raised by HIV/AIDS.

The consultant said that states have a duty to reform laws and other legal support services with a focus on anti-discrimination and protection of public health for women, children and marginalized groups.

The Lower Chamber of Parliament and the Senate are holding the two-day discussion on parliament’s role in having an AIDS-free generation.

According to a statement by the House, the meeting is a result of the growing consensus that an AIDS free generation is possible through parliamentary intervention.

Senate president, Vincent Biruta, told the lawmakers and other stakeholders in the fight against HIV, that legislators should play a critical role in educating their electorates on causes of HIV prevalence.

He said that Rwanda has made remarkable progress in the fight against the pandemic but hastened to caution that the journey is still long. Biruta said the legislative assemblies through budget approval and oversight role have the capacity to influence the government’s behaviour in the fight against HIV.

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