Uganda army halts training for HIV-infected troops
KAMPALA, Apr 4 (Reuters) The Ugandan army will halt training for HIV-positive soldiers for fear it could worsen their condition, a military spokesman said today.
''We do not want to put any more stress on our brothers who are already suffering. This move was made out of our concern for their health,'' Major Felix Kulayigye told Reuters.
The east African country has been praised for running the continent's most successful fight against the disease, cutting infection rates to around six per cent today from more than 30 per cent in its worst affected districts in the 1990s.
Most Ugandans attribute the fall to a frank education campaign about condoms by President Yoweri Museveni at a time when many other African leaders seemed embarrassed to discuss AIDS.
Kulayigye said the decision on army training was part of efforts to professionalise Uganda's 40,000-strong military. The affected soldiers will remain in the army but will not receive any more training.
But some called the move discriminatory.
''Given the openness with which the HIV/AIDS issue has been discussed in public, as a government policy, Ugandans don't expect such statements from leaders of any institution,'' said one letter to a local newspaper today.
''Being HIV-positive does not mean someone has stopped being useful to oneself, family, community and the country.'' Reuters VJ RS1523