Activists react to draft AIDS bill

Kenyan AIDS lobbyists have voiced their opposition to a new HIV Bill by the Parliamentary Health Committee that will accommodate foreign research and water down provisions protecting the rights of HIV-positive people.

The Kenya Treatment Access Movement (KETAM) charged that the Bill would pave the way for unethical research and weaken safeguards against arbitrary testing, which could lead to the exploitation of people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as other human research subjects.

KETAM also noted that it would complicate the function of existing statutory AIDS organisations by creating a new body - the Kenya HIV/AIDS Parliamentary Commission - whose role would include overseeing the activities of the National AIDS Control Council.

James Kamau, the KETAM co-director, told the local East African Standard newspaper, "Just why somebody wants to load Kenyans with another money-guzzling and time-wasting AIDS commission is lost on us - the focus now should be on anti-AIDS treatment and mitigation, and not the formation of additional bureaucracies."