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NEW YORK — “People look at disabled people and think they don’t have sex. We have sex. And we can be infected with HIV.” John Meletse is a deaf, gay, and HIV-positive South African. When he went to get tested for HIV in 2001, the clinic staff couldn’t…
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The Fight for Human Rights

In 2008, recently out of Yale Law School, I traveled to Malawi with a development organization and met a local prosecutor over lunch. Making conversation, I asked her what type of cases she prosecuted: "Murders," she said. When I asked why a career as a…
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Joseph Kony, Thomas Lubanga and Charles Taylor are just the tip of the iceberg. The use of children as soldiers extends far beyond Africa. Last week in The Hague, the International Criminal Court, or ICC, found the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty…
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The status of health and human rights in Ugandan prisons

I met Hellene in a Ugandan prison. She was 16 years old and living in rural Uganda when she was raped, leaving her pregnant and HIV-positive. Hellene told me that her rapists also kidnapped a child in her care, and she was arrested soon after. When I…
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The darling of international health donors is doing little to preserve the health of its prisoners

Uganda was once hailed as one of the world's early leaders in combating HIV. In the past decade, this success has been undermined by a focus on abstinence-only programs, widespread corruption, and more recently by stigmatizing and misguided policies.…
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President Museveni's proposal to eliminate bail for certain nonviolent crimes is a challenge to the constitutional rights of Ugandans. But it also raises an interesting question: Where would more prisoners go? Prisons are crammed to over 200 percent of…
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This week, different groups around the world are observing World AIDS Day and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on December 1 and 3 respectively. Rarely have the two been observed together. At least until this year. Events hosted at UN…
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A global conference on AIDS is taking place this week in Vienna, Austria, and the special vulnerabilities of women with disabilities must be kept on the agenda

"I'm a woman with a disability. I am HIV-positive and I am on ARVs (antiretroviral drugs). My life is very hard." These were the first words Immaculate, a 52-year-old landmine survivor in northern Uganda, said to me when I met her in May. "It took long…
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In mid-July AIDS experts from around the world will gather for the 18th international AIDS conference. The focus will be on where AIDS is being defeated and where it is re-emerging. Unfortunately, Uganda will be discussed in the second category. At the…
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Changes in an HIV Prevention Program in Uganda

In 2001, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni returned from the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS with an ambitious task: to launch Uganda’s first nationwide school-based HIV-prevention curriculum. As an acknowledged “success story”…
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President Yoweri Museveni recently said the Domestic Relations Bill, which would bolster women's rights in the family and criminalize marital rape, is "not urgently needed." But what could be more urgent than stopping the brutal violence that puts women…
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Many Americans seem to accept the notion that we live in a unipolar world, and that only the United States has the wherewithal to solve complex global problems. But on the continent of Africa, which President Bush is crisscrossing for the first time this…