Mandatory HIV testing for prisoners

via Mandatory HIV testing for prisoners – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 4, 2015

HEALTH and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa has bemoaned the high HIV prevalence rate among prisoners and indicated that government was considering mandatory HIV and Aids testing for serving inmates to contain the scourge.


Speaking at a pyscho-social support conference attended by more than 400 delegates drawn from 20 countries in Victoria Falls yesterday, Parirenyatwa said about 28% of the prison population was HIV positive.

“Under the Sadc region, as ministers we have noted a high rise of HIV cases among inmates and that’s worrying,” he said.

“The [HIV] prevalence rate in Zimbabwe is 14%, but in our prisons it’s 28% and that’s double. It’s the same in all Sadc countries.

“So are the prisoners contracting the virus while still outside or in prisons?

“Should we test everyone coming into prisons [to serve time]? Should we distribute condoms in prisons like in other countries? We hope that scientists will help us on that.”

The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services is on record saying they would not allow condoms in prisons, claiming this was tantamount to legalising homosexuality.

According to the Prisons Act, homosexuality is viewed as sodomy, and offenders are punished.

Parirenyatwa said about 4 500 people have registered to attend the International Conference on Aids and STIs In Africa (ICASA) set for November 28 to December 4 in Harare.

He said 8 000 delegates are expected.

Speaking at the same function, acting Information minister Prisca Mupfumira called on journalists and media houses to shun sensationalism and focus on issues that benefit the country.

“There has been a culture of sensational and negative reporting in the Press, newspapers focusing on wrong personal issues rather than core bread and butter issues,” she said.

“There is need for a shift. We should not fill the whole page with information that does not add value to a person’s life.”

Mupfumira said she was planning to engage various editors with a view of setting up dedicated desks for women and children issues.