Zimbabwe’s prison authorities have called for the distribution of condoms in the country’s jails, saying this would help fight the prevalence of HIV/Aids, reports said on Thursday.
According to state broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Commissioner, Retired Major General Paradza Zimond, said there was a need to consider issuing of condoms in the country’s more than 40 prisons.
Zimond said this would help in preventing the spread of the disease in the country’s prisons.
The call by Zimond came just less than a year after Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told the state-owned Herald newspaper that homosexuality contributed to an increased HIV prevalence in prisons.
Parirenyatwa claimed that the prevalence of HIV and Aids showed that people were jailed while already infected or that there was “rampant” homosexuality behind bars.Mandatory HIV/Aids testing
“The rise of HIV prevalence in prisons shows that it is either these prisoners are infected already before they get into prison and if not then it means homosexuality is rampant in prisons,” Parirenyatwa was quoted as saying at the time.His comments angered a gay rights organisation in the country.
The Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) said, although they welcomed Parirenyatwa’s attitude towards opening a debate on homosexuality, the group believed that the issue of HIV and Aids in prisons had nothing to do with homosexuality, said the report.
Statistics revealed that HIV prevalence in prisons across the southern African country stood at 28%, according to a report by ZPCS quoted by the Chronicle newspaper.
The prison authorities said it wanted lawmakers to also debate enforcing a mandatory HIV/Aids testing for prisoners.