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amfAR, the International AIDS Society, and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation to Honor Dr. Paul Semugoma with the Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award

Ugandan Physician and LGBT and HIV/AIDS Activist to Receive Award at Opening Session of the 20th International AIDS Conference

NEW YORK, July 10, 2014 – At the last International AIDS Conference in 2012, Paul Semugoma, M.D., delivered a rousing speech about the rights of LGBT and HIV-positive people in Africa. It was also at this moment that he decided to publicly come out as a gay man. This year at AIDS 2014, Dr. Semugoma will stand again before the assembled crowd to accept the Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award in recognition of his accomplishments as a leader and advocate for human rights in the field of HIV/AIDS.

The award is presented by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research; the International AIDS Society (IAS); and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) in honor of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, amfAR’s Founding International Chairman and a highly visible, vocal and relentless champion of the human rights of all people living with or affected by HIV.  The presentation will take place at the opening session of the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) on Sunday, July 20, at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

A physician from Uganda, Dr. Semugoma has been at the forefront of efforts to address gaps in HIV prevention, care, and treatment among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in Africa. In 2009, when the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced in the Ugandan Parliament, Dr. Semugoma became a vocal opponent of the bill and testified before Parliament on the potential adverse effects of the proposed legislation on public health, especially among gay men and other MSM. The bill, which punishes “aggravated homosexuality” with life in prison, was ultimately signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in February 2014.

“We are proud and delighted to present this year’s Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award to Dr. Semugoma, who has stood, with unwavering courage and conviction, for the rights of LGBT communities and people with HIV/AIDS in Uganda and all over the world,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “Dr. Semugoma has become a powerful voice for the voiceless and a true champion of human rights.”      

“We know that the dignity and rights of every individual are precious and must be promoted and protected in order for the HIV response to make a real and lasting impact. Paul’s courageous life and the dedication that he brings to his work make him a shining example for all of us to follow,” said IAS President Françoise Barré Sinoussi.

“Dr. Semugoma’s tenacious dedication to helping marginalized LGBT communities and people living with HIV/AIDS has brought about much-needed action, understanding and hope,” said Joel Goldman, Managing Director of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.  “We are pleased to honor Dr. Semugoma as his commitment exemplifies Elizabeth Taylor's enduring legacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

Shortly after disclosing his sexual orientation during his speech at AIDS 2012 in Washington, D.C., Dr. Semugoma left Uganda with his partner and his family and moved to South Africa. Earlier this year, Dr. Semugoma was detained at a Johannesburg airport while returning from a trip to Zimbabwe, where immigration authorities attempted to deport him to Uganda. Following an outpouring of support for Dr. Semugoma from advocates in South Africa and worldwide, deportation charges against him were dropped.  

About amfAR                
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $388 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,300 grants to research teams worldwide.

About the IAS
The International AIDS Society (IAS) is the world's leading independent association of HIV professionals, with over 13,000 members from more than 170 countries working at all levels of the global response to AIDS. The IAS members include researchers from all disciplines, clinicians, public health and community practitioners on the frontlines of the epidemic, as well as policy and programme planners. The IAS is custodian of the biennial International AIDS Conference, which will be held in Melbourne, Australia, 20-25 July 2014 and lead organizer of the IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, which will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 19-22 July 2015 | |

About The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation
The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) was established by Elizabeth Taylor in 1991 to raise funds and awareness to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, and to provide assistance for those living with the virus.  The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (1) supports organizations delivering direct care and services to people living with HIV/AIDS, and (2) supports organizations that provide education to the public regarding the prevention of HIV. ETAF provides financial support for organizations and entities both within the United States and internationally. To learn more or to make a donation please visit

Media Contacts:

Joana Casas, amfAR (New York)
Program Communications Manager

Sian Bowen, International AIDS Society (Geneva, Switzerland)
Senior Manager, Communications
+41 22 710 0864;

Francesca Da Ros, International AIDS Society (Geneva, Switzerland)
Senior Coordinator, Communications and Media
+41 22 710 0822;

Julie Cloutier, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (Los Angeles, USA)

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