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Malawi Laws Concern UNAIDS, Global Fund

Malawi Laws Concern UNAIDS, Global Fund

Two leaders in the international struggle against HIV met with Malawi's president in Blantyre on May 25 to express their concern about that nation's antigay laws. Michel Sidibe, the executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and Michel Kazatchkine, the head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, spoke about the issue with President Bingu wa Mutharika, who has condemned homosexuality as "un-Malawian."

Last week a court there convicted Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga on charges of unnatural acts and gross indecency; the men received the maximum sentence of 14 years at hard labor.

"Criminalizing sexual behavior drives people who engage in same-sex relations underground," Kazatchkine said, hindering efforts to prevent and treat HIV.

Sidibe and Kazatchkine addressed a press conference after the meeting; Mutharika did not appear.

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