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Bill Gates Not Fazed by Uganda's 'Kill the Gays' Bill

It's hard to believe Bill Gates isn't familiar with the Draconian Uganda "kill the gays" bill, but in a new interview with the Seattle Times, Gates essentially brushes it off:

Gates Q: Looking at health efforts in Africa, such as HIV prevention and treatment, are you concerned about the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill, and have you spoken to anyone there about it?

A: The spread of AIDS is a huge problem and obviously we're very involved. I talk in my letter about the great success with this male circumcision effort, and preventative drug trials. There's a tendency to think in the U.S. just because a law says something that it's a big deal. In Africa if you want to talk about how to save lives, it's not just laws that count. There's a stigma no matter what that law says, for sex workers, men having sex with men, that's always been a problem for AIDS. It relates to groups that aren't that visible. AIDS itself is subject to incredible stigma. Open involvement is a helpful thing. I wouldn't overly focus on that. In terms of how many people are dying in Africa, it's not about the law on the books; it's about getting the message out and the new tools.

Think Progress notes: "The bill has been strongly condemned internationally and should be especially troubling to Gates because it 'in effect bans organizations working in HIV and AIDS prevention,' which it considers 'promotion of homosexuality.' The U.N.’s Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa blasted to legislation, saying, 'The law will drive [patients] away from seeking counseling and testing services.'” AIDS activists in Uganda and the U.S. have protested the bill, and the U.N. has threatened to scuttle plans to build an AIDS research center in Uganda if the bill becomes law."

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Comments

  1. Doesn't that law on the books further stigmatize those with AIDS? I don't see his logic. He's doing good things, in terms of his work to stop the spread of AIDS, but I think he's probably regretting this response.

    Posted by: David T | Jan 26, 2010 8:23:43 AM


  2. I think he just tried to explain than only bitching about that law was not enough and that if you really want to make a difference, you gotta go there and actively lend a hand.

    Looks like he's very clumsy in his reply and should definitely have thought a bit more before answering.

    Posted by: Alco | Jan 26, 2010 8:47:20 AM


  3. I find it hard to fathom why money would be wasted pushing circumcision, when condoms would be infinitely more effective in preventing HIV/AIDS. Anyone who pushes circumcision as some kind of way to prevent it, to me, is just not a serious activist on the issue.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jan 26, 2010 8:51:53 AM


  4. Let's make a law declaring Bill Gates an Enemy of the State so that it's the duty of every citizen to kill him on sight. Laws don't mean anything, after all.

    Posted by: Frank | Jan 26, 2010 11:49:01 AM


  5. i think that people need to give it up about gay men and aids they think that u can not get aids from straight people and u know i am just tried if it i do not think that it is right. people need to just face the fact that any and everbody can get it u do not have to be gay and people talking about killing all gay people they say that because they are scared to face the fact that they are gay themselves they are just scared of themselves.

    Posted by: Marcus Williams | Jan 26, 2010 12:07:03 PM


  6. His cluelessnes is disappointing. I don't think he's homophobic.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 26, 2010 12:41:59 PM


  7. Wasn't there a report last week in some medical journal saying circumcision makes little difference to the spread of the disease ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jan 26, 2010 1:11:16 PM


  8. Yes Jack, Circumcision only helps people who need it for misshapen foreskin. ANY OTHER TIME ITS JUST MUTILATION.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jan 26, 2010 2:10:04 PM


  9. I'm going to defend Bill Gates. I think his quote is so vague that it's easy to misconstrue what he said and difficult to construe what he actually meant. The quote could be interpreted as him saying that killing gays is not a big deal.

    I'll give him the benefit of the doubt as say this is what he meant:

    laws are not a big deal in Uganda as in the US. Passing laws to prevent AIDS is not effective and therefore not a effective tool or big deal in preventing AIDS. AIDS stigmatizes or is blamed on gays and prostitutes and people not visible, giving Ugandans a false security about ways it's spread. Ugandans need to be educated.


    I think he was speaking as if the question was specifically about AIDS while glancing over the subject of homosexuality.

    Posted by: d.tr | Jan 26, 2010 6:45:04 PM


  10. Bill should have at least acknowledged the evil inherent in the bill, even if he believes it will have little effect.

    As for the male genital mutilation, the supposed preventive benefits from that have been debunked already.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 26, 2010 10:33:47 PM


  11. Circumcision is a dangerous distraction in the fight against AIDS. There are six African countries where men are *more* likely to be HIV+ if they've been circumcised: Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, and Swaziland. Eg in Malawi, the HIV rate is 13.2% among circumcised men, but only 9.5% among intact men. In Rwanda, the HIV rate is 3.5% among circumcised men, but only 2.1% among intact men. If circumcision really worked against AIDS, this just wouldn't happen. We now have people calling circumcision a "vaccine" or "invisible condom", and viewing circumcision as an alternative to condoms.

    The one randomized controlled trial into male-to-female transmission showed a 54% higher rate in the group where the men had been circumcised btw.

    ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful, Condoms) is the way forward. Promoting genital surgery will cost African lives, not save them.

    Posted by: Mark Lyndon | Jan 27, 2010 9:12:14 AM


  12. Am a Ugandan gay rights activist and a professional lawyer and indeed we as a majority have no much involement in the hype about the bill.African style is the way we do things and we are used to legislations comming in from the door and going out through the window.There is no need for the international community to worry about such a hopeless bill.It is inspired by a few political glory seekers who have run out of ideas.In a country like Uganda riddled with poverty and many other demands there is no way a sensible right thinking legislator would center on homosexuality since its not what his constituency requires of him.The practice is there in Uganda but to a small scale and infact among the social affront.The current president is an opportunist and there is no way he can let such an abnoxious bill cost his country an AIDS research center at the expense of morality propagated by a minority politicians who have run out of ideas.

    Posted by: wandega joseph | Feb 4, 2010 11:47:18 AM


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