Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has described gays and
lesbians as “worse than dogs and pigs”. (Pic: Jeremy Lock)
A report on Zimbabwe’s response to the HIV pandemic has recommended that the country decriminalise homosexuality.
The report was compiled by a consultant on behalf of the National Aids Council (NAC) and urged Zimbabwe to deal with “homosexuality and prostitution in a pragmatic way” in order to reduce HIV infection rates, reports The Standard.
According to the newspaper, the study, which was tasked with looking at all “acts, declarations and protocols” affecting the fight against HIV, concluded that laws criminalising homosexuality, should be reviewed.
The NAC said that it had not finalised its position on the issue and was still assessing the report.
“We hired a consultant who made those recommendations but we have not yet sat down to go through them as an organisation so we currently do not have a position regarding them,” said Tapuwa Magure, CEO of the NAC.
According to epidemiologists, HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) in a number of African countries is markedly higher than the general population. Many of these men also have female partners.
The UN World Health Organisation (WHO) recently also called for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in order to combat the global spread of the HI virus.
Gay sex – along with members of the same sex holding hands, hugging or kissing – is illegal in Zimbabwe with penalties of up to three years in jail. LGBTI people and activists are routinely harassed by officials and police.