20 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Ziyambi - Government to Decriminalise Wilful Transmission of HIV

Photo: Vanguard

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has revealed plans by government to repeal clauses in the Sexual Offences Act which criminalise the deliberate transmitting of HIV by positive sexual partners.

Addressing backbenchers during parliament's question and answer session on Wednesday, Minister Ziyambi said the law has not served its intended purpose of reducing the spread of the virus.

"... Indeed when the legislation came into effect, the thinking there was that, we need to control the spread of HIV by criminalising those who transmit it to partners willingly.

"But global thinking is that the law stigmatises people living with HIV and AIDS. Studies have shown that it does not produce the intended results that it is intended to achieve and so what the ministry is going to do is repeal that section of the law," said Ziyambi.

The Minister was responding to a direct question by Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala who had asked what government was doing in terms of decriminalising the deliberate spread of HIV by sexual partners.

The MDC legislator had also asked if the government was willing to reverse the law arguing it stigmatises people living with HIV and AIDS.

Minister Ziyambi said the envisaged changes could come through the Marriage Bill Act.

"We are looking at perhaps introducing that amendment through the Marriage Bill Act that is due to come," he said.

Zimbabwe in 2001 introduced the Sexual Offences Act which came with criminalisation on deliberate transmission of HIV either through rape cases or by those who do not inform their sexual partners about their HIV positive status in cases of unprotected sex.


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