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Law as a tool: the challenge of HIV/AIDS in Uganda

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This paper aims to explore the role of human rights law in addressing the HIV/Aids epidemic, with particular reference to Uganda. The emphasis is on law as a tool, not as the tool, since the impact of law is always either constrained or facilitated by other factors - social, political and economic. The paper has been written primarily from a legal perspective, drawing on expertise regarding the function and operation of both national and international law. Uganda is selected as the 'case study' in part because it is widely regarded as a country that has succeeded, perhaps more than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa, in reducing the rate of HIV/Aids prevalence in its population. It is considered to have achieved this largely through a combination of civil society initiatives, governance and aid from international donors. The perception generally is that law has not been a feature of this strategy and this paper examines whether law was, in fact, insignificant in Uganda's apparent success. It also looks at a number of related questions, including whether legal reform could have an impact on the current situation or whether it is indeed marginal.

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