THE HIV prevalence rate in Zimbabwe prisons stands at 27%, a figure almost double the national prevalence rate and women prisoners are the worst affected by HIV.
The Zimbabwe Prisons Services is on record saying that they would not allow HIV and Aids preventative measures such as condoms, claiming this was tantamount to legalising illicit behaviour. This is despite the known existence of homosexuality in jails.
According to the Prisons Act, homosexuality is viewed as sodomy and if there are witnesses to the act, the offenders would be punished. According to the 2010-11 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS), the HIV prevalence rate in the country is now 15%, down from 18% in 2006.
HIV prevalence continues to be higher among women than men; 18% of women are HIV-positive compared to 12% of men.
The ministry of health plans to cooperate with prison officials to come up with strategies to strengthen both prevention and treatment of HIV patients and this is not just for prisoners but also prison workers and communities living around prisons.
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