Samantha Chigogo Herald Reporter
THE prevalence of HIV and Aids in prisons is a sign people are jailed while already infected or there is rampant homosexuality behind bars, Health and Childcare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has said.
According to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service, HIV prevalence among prisoners stands at 28 percent.
Speaking at a preparatory meeting for the hosting of the International Conference on Aids and Sexually
Transmitted Infections by Zimbabwe in November, Dr Parirenyatwa said it was important for the country to address the prevalence of HIV and Aids in prisons.
“As Zimbabweans, we have our own cultural expectations, but we do not have to run away from the idea that it (homosexuality) is happening in our prisons,” he said.
“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.”
Dr Parirenyatwa said they did not expect protests against the discussions because homosexuality in prisons and the prevalence of HIV and Aids was a matter open for discussion within the confines of the conference.
“We do not expect any demonstrations for or against this cause, but as a ministry we will openly endorse the discussion at the conference towards achieving an HIV free generation,” he said.
Dr Parirenyatwa said HIV was also now prevalent among youths while truck drivers needed to be cautioned against promiscuity.
“We also need to address the shooting percentage of STIs among our youths considering the high rates of teen pregnancies in the country.
“Long distance truck drivers also fall under our key populations as prostitution is rampant while they conduct their duty.” he said