On April 7, 2014 IHP, The Blount Center, Emory University Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life, and Sacred Worth at Candler School of Theology sponsored a screening and discussion of the documentary film, Call Me Kuchu. The documentary examined the complex cultural, political, and religious issues related to homosexuality that have been playing out in Uganda since the Anti Homosexuality Bill was introduced into Parliament in 2009. Those issues have taken on added urgency with the passage of that bill into law in February 2014. Various HIV prevention, treatment, and support programs have already been affected; one supported by the U.S. government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program was raided by Ugandan police officials in Kampala and closed for a time and another non-governmental program was also raided.
Senior leadership within PEPFAR and within the U.S. Department of State invited John Blevins and Victor Akelo to Washington, DC in late April to discuss these issues. Dr. Blevins is an Associate Research Professor with IHP and Dr. Akelo is a researcher at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the Kenya Country Office of the US Centers for Disease Control. In two days of meetings along with other religious leaders and HIV program experts and advocates, participants worked to identify the most appropriate responses and to work with in-country partners in Uganda and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa to build stronger networks for support and services.