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Opportunities for HIV prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM) within the Zambian prison setting

Document type: mthesis
Download file(s): 183298 (383 KB)
Abstract: BACKGROUND: HIV in prisons presents a major public health challenge for both prison and public authorities because the inmates are part of the regular community and once they are released from prison they become part of the regular community. (UNAIDS 2009). Zambia holds about 15,000 inmates in its prisons spread country wide and the majority are serving sentences or are in remanded custody (UNAIDS 2007) and about 80% of the prison population are sexually active, while 27% are HIV positive, and 15% have STIs. (Sanjobo, N. and Simooya, O. 2004a). There are a number of NGOs working in the prison setting but they are not allowed to distribute condoms as it is perceived that it would encourage Men having Sex with Men (MSM) which is illegal under the Zambian law and the government had for many years denied that Men were having Sex with Men within its prison walls. OBJECTIVE: To carefully analyse HIV risk factors among the male prison population in Zambia, so as to create awareness with a view to guiding future policy decision relating to HIV and AIDS in the Zambian prison setting. METHODOLOGY: The study is descriptive in nature. It did not do any form of primary research but instead did a desk review of literature on issues such as prison health from different sources such as books, journals, reports, published articles and studies. The Literature reviewed have been sourced from published Zambian Government documents, United Nations technical reports, NGO, private and institutional documents and research studies. Also informal discussions were held with some key informants who were knowledgeable about the subject under review. FINDINGS: HIV is a serious problem. MSM and sexual violence are rife and condoms are not allowed. However, inmates are smuggling condoms into the prisons and the condoms are used as a form of currency. Boredom, overcrowding, and gang activity were some of the factors that contributed to MSM. CONCLUSIONS: The inmates that are in prison today come from within the communities and once they finish serving their sentences, they will return to the community. Therefore, by having interventions in place that will promote and protect their health and wellbeing. This will go a long way in not only protecting the inmates themselves, but also their families, the prison staff and this will have a “snow ball” effect on the broader public health in Zambia. RECOMMENDATIONS: Political will is needed so as to reduce the HIV risk and sexual violence vulnerability among the male prison population in Zambia. There is need for policy reform that will allow alternatives to incarceration so as a way to decongest the prison system. The reforms should ensure that inmates are protected from acts of sexual violence. The prison staff should undergo training in human rights so that they acquire important skills regarding the treatment of inmates in accordance with international human rights treaties that Zambia has signed.
Authors: Katuta, C.
Country: Zambia
Category: Research
Department: Development Policy & Practice
Institute: KIT (Royal Tropical Institute)
Keywords: health , HIV and AIDS , disease prevention and control , men
Language: eng
Organization: KIT - Royal Tropical Institute
PAGE: x, 28
Year: 2009
Region: East Africa
Right: © 2009 Katuta
Subject: Health and Nutrition
Title: Opportunities for HIV prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM) within the Zambian prison setting
Training: Master in International Health (MIH)