Zimbabwean prisons to distribute condoms to all inmates
The health ministry has since designated the country's prions a "special sector" because of a high prevalence rate for HIV. ZPCS boss, Retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi told a conference of the uniformed forces in Victoria Falls Wednesday that plans were underway to distribute condoms in prisons but admitted they were facing resistance even from inmates.
“We once carried out a survey but they questioned why we should give them condoms when they don’t share cells with female inmates,” said Rtd Maj-Gen Zimondi.
He said efforts were being made to lobby for a legislation which would mandate ZPCS to distribute condoms and test inmates for HIV and Aids.
“What we require now is a legislation which we can use as a legal instrument and my plea is that you discuss this issue in this meeting,” said the prisons boss while giving closing remarks to the 4th annual Zimbabwe Uniformed Forces Health Services Conference which officially ends Thursday.
He said the idea was to make it “mandatory and compulsory to test inmates for HIV and Aids and also to provide them with condoms” but feared resistance from human rights groups.
“This is an issue that can be discussed at policy-making level and I am giving you the expressway to discuss and recommend for the way forward.”
Zimondi also sold the idea to Sadc countries as he implored representatives of uniformed forces from Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia to consider the issue. His sentiments could spark a lot of debate and controversy among those who might feel the move would fuel homosexuality.
President Robert Mugabe has strongly condemned homosexuality, saying those involved in the practice were “worse than pigs and dogs”. The conference was held under the theme: “Psycho-social impact of HIV and Aids on national security:
Strengthening synergies locally and beyond.”
It sought to discuss issues of psycho-social effects of the disease within the security forces and the Sadc region as a whole.
Commander of Zimbabwe Defence Force General Constantine Chiwenga said HIV and Aids remains a security threat to Sub Saharan Africa as uniformed forces are among the worst infected and affected.