In Uganda, parliament is considering a bill that could impose the death penalty for people living with HIV/AIDS who knowingly infect those under the age of 18.
Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye is a member of the Ugandan parliamentary committee on HIV/Aids. From Kampala, he spoke to VOA English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the bill.
“Its major purpose is to amend the previous act, which was giving a life sentence to all those who had sexual contact with minors…the previous act was sentencing them to life imprisonment. But it was considered that we should be able to categorize the different categories of defilers. And we came out with a new term called aggravated defilement.
Now aggravated defilement carries a death penalty if parliament approves it and this will be given to those people who have sexual intercourse with children below the age of 18. And if those people already know they are HIV positive and you go on to have sex with somebody below the age of 18 and you are proved in court to have been in the know of your (HIV) status…then you would be liable upon conviction to death,” he says.
The bill still must be debated and the issue of the death penalty itself is expected to play a role. Some have called for its abolishment.