Zambia: Inmates Reject Condoms

INMATES at Kamfinsa State Prison in Kitwe have objected to the proposal to distribute condoms in prison as doing so may promote sodomy. Peer educators at the prison said distributing condoms in prisons was as good as promoting homosexuality among inmates.

They said this during an HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) conference for Copperbelt officers held at Kamfinsa State Prison on Saturday. The conference was organised by In-But-Free, a non-governmental organisation working to address the impact of HIV/AIDS in prisons.

The peer educators, whose names were withheld, said they were against the proposal of having condoms in prison because doing so would be morally wrong. "If condoms are distributed among inmates who are they going to be using them with because prisons are places for a specific sex group, either men or women?" they asked.

They said they would rather embrace programmes on behavioural change than consent to the distribution of condoms amongst themselves. The peer educators said the distribution of condoms in prisons would negate the gains recorded in reducing the HIV/AIDS prevalence in prisons.

Zambia Prisons Service Copperbelt deputy commander Robert Mwale said there had been substantial success in HIV prevention recorded in prisons following intensified campaigns for behavioural change among inmates.

Mr Mwale said the promotion of HIV/AIDS and TB awareness programmes In-But-Free was conducting on the Copperbelt had led to significant change in behaviour among inmates and officers towards HIV/AIDS and TB.

In-But-Free chairperson, Oscar Simooya said the organisation was aware of the adverse conditions prevailing in prisons leading to the transmission of infectious diseases.

Dr Simooya said getting infected or becoming ill while in custody was not part of society's plan for offenders and, therefore, being in prison should not be an additional sentence for inmates.

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