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call for law on HIV status
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
WOMEN have urged
the Government to come up with legislation that compels spouses
to reveal their HIV status to each other.
The Sexual Offences Act does not provide for the revealing of oneís
status to his/her partner.
Speaking at a meeting on gender violence and human rights in Harare
this week, several women said it was dangerous that a married personís
HIV status be considered private and confidential.
"When a man is treated for a sexually transmitted disease, health
workers are is quick to inform him to bring his wife along to be
"The same should be done in the case of HIV. We have many men who
are HIV positive and as women we are sitting ducks for whatever
they want to bring into the home," said one woman.
Another woman who identified herself as Mrs Mandaza said a woman
should know her partnerís status so that she could make wise decisions
for the future.
"You can then find out your own status and practice safe sex to
ensure that you do not get infected if you are negative and re-infected
if you are positive," one female journalist said.
Some women, who live in the rural areas while their husbands are
away at work in the urban areas, continue to have unprotected sex
with their HIV positive spouses out of ignorance. Even if they are
suspicious of the behaviour of their husbands, society does not
permit them to deny them their conjugal rights and they are not
even empowered enough to advocate for the use of condoms.
Participants at the meeting said most of these women only find out
that their husbands were infected when they fall sick before going
to the rural areas to be nursed.
Among those who attended the meeting was the Deputy Minister of
Womenís Affairs, Gender and Community Development Cde Abigail Damasane.
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