Lack of condoms for prison 'homos' worries Mogae

Staff Writer
Former President and Chairperson of the National AIDS Council (NAC), Festus Mogae has raised concerns about lack of condoms in prisons saying that this perpetuates the spread of HIV/AIDS among 'homosexuals'.

He explained that there is evidence that some men go into prisons HIV negative and come out HIV positive, which should be a concern to the nation.

"If men go in to prisons without the virus and come out infected, then we should take interest in their sexual activities while they are in there if we really want to prevent new infections within our communities," he told the NAC council in Gaborone yesterday.  

He said that men having sex with other men, not only in prisons is not a fact that can be ignored and that prevention for these groups should be provided to halt new HIV infections. "This is a phenomenon throughout the world. My feeling personally is that this is an area that should be explored to prevent new infections in our communities," he said.

Mogae said that it is not of his interest

whether men having sex with other men is legal or not, right or wrong because the main goal is to prevent new infections in the country.

"I am not interested in knowing if it is right or wrong, my feeling is that if there is anything we can give to these people to protect themselves then let's do so. I am saying this because some men might not necessarily be gay, they also come into contact with their female partners and pass on the virus," he said.

Meanwhile, there are debates calling for decriminalisation of prostitution and provision of condoms in prisons, which are believed to be exacerbating the spread of HIV/AIDS. 

The Botswana Network for People Living with AIDS (BONELA) has long called on the government to provide condoms in prisons, a matter that enjoys Minister of Health, Dr Reverend John Seakgosing's support.

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