The Malawi Interfaith Aids Association is pushing stakeholders to consider the provision of condoms in prison to reduce the spread of the pandemic among inmates, in the fight against HIV.
There has been debate on whether it is appropriate to distribute condoms in prisons, arguing it may encourage homosexuality.
However in the absence of the preventative measures, new HIV infections may be prevalent in Malawi’s prisons.
Speaking to Capital FM, Robert Ngayiyaye who is Executive Director of the association stressed on the need for Malawi to consider this though it will bring about debate among the public.
“We are aware that there is homosexuality in our prisons. We even have testimonies of people who go into rison without the virus and come out with the virus”
This is a clear indication that homosexual acts are taking place in our prisons and if we do not do anything about it the rate of new HIV infections will continue to rise, “Ngayiyaye explained.
These sentiments come amidst growing debate has been debate on whether it is appropriate to distribute condoms in prisons, arguing it may encourage homosexuality.
However Ngayiyaye believes that distribution of the condoms will in no way promote homosexual acts in the country but it will be a way onf ensuring that even prisoners have access to such health services.
“We need to provide condoms when people are in the prisons not when they are outside, we want to prevent the disease and not promote or legitimise anything.”
“Them being in prison is enough punishment for their crimes and getting infected with the virus while in prison should not also be punishment because we can prevent it,” Ngayiyaye added.
According to statistics, HIV prevalence rate in Malawi is currently at 9 percent and it is at 18 percent in prisons across the country.