Zimbabwe Government to Protect Homosexual Men Having gay sex in prisons from HIV

Gay rights activists have applauded the decision

A health minister in Zimbabwe has said men who have sex with men in prison should be protected from HIV and AIDS.

Dr Owen Mugurungi, the HIV and TB Director in the Ministry of Health, said it would be ‘disastrous’ to ignore homosexuality was ‘rife in prisons’.

He said:  ‘We might want to deny that men have sex with men but we know that in prison that this thing does happen.’

This has been received well by the LGBTI community in the country who have applauded the minister.

Chesterfield Samba, the director of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe said: ‘This is what we have been saying all along – that AIDS programs should not be politicized because health knows no politics and we applaud the Health Ministry in ensuring health for all’.

Samba added government programs should address the issue of discrimination against gay people in Zimbabwe.

‘The response should address the structural and programmatic barriers that prevent not only prisoners from accessing services that address their healthcare needs, including access to information that is relevant, but also the LGBTI community.’

It is illegal to be gay in Zimbabwe, with President Robert Mugabe threatening to cut off LGBTI people’s heads.

This has made it difficult for government officials to talk about the issue, particularly as the president has also threatened to deport foreign diplomats viewed as being supportive of homosexuality.

Around 15% of the population in Zimbabwe is living with HIV.

 

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