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on the proposed assessment of HIV prevalence among the prison population
Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)
January 18, 2011
the National Aids
Council for taking steps to carry out an assessment of HIV prevalence
and risk behaviours among the prison populations in Zimbabwe.
We believe that
men, women and children in these settings are vulnerable hence it
is important to ensure that the health of those who constitute this
population is protected, as they are a part of the broader community.
We hope that this assessment will ultimately improve access to HIV
and Aids services by the prison population within and those they
interact with outside prison.
We call upon
NAC to carry out more evidence based interventions with lesbian
gay, bisexual, transgendered and intersex communities in Zimbabwe
as they have been identified as a part of more at risk populations
in the Zimbabwe National Aids Strategic Planning document. (ZNASP
can be no doubt that there are men who have sex with other men.
They are at risk of HIV infection and passing on the virus to their
partners, including female partners. Furthermore, international
experience has shown that ignoring this group or adopting punitive
approaches will only serve to drive MSM underground and reduce opportunities
to dialogue with this group. An assessment of MSM patterns, meeting
points and behaviours will therefore be carried out, and adequate
public health interventions developed based on the findings."
GALZ notes three
important issues from the statement above:
- The admission
that homosexual men exist in Zimbabwe although there is no mention
of lesbian and bisexual women.
- The criminalizing
of sex between consenting men prejudices efforts to reduce HIV
- There is
need to conduct research into MSM and develop public health interventions
based on the findings indicating that the NAC is willing to acknowledge
the place of homosexual activity in its awareness and intervention
we note that not much has been done to address this issue hence
we call upon NAC to prioritise interventions for men who have sex
with men and women who have sex with women in Zimbabwe as part of
it's commitment to Universal access to HIV treatment, prevention,
care and support.
Visit the GALZ
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