According to UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Zimbabwe has one of the world’s highest HIV prevalence rates at 15 percent with some 1,6 million locals living with the infection.
However, the country’s prison services says HIV prevalence among inmates now stands at 28 percent.
Parirenyatwa said homosexuality could be helping spike the infections.
“The rise of HIV prevalence in prisons shows that it is either these prisoners are infected already before they get into prison and if not then it means homosexuality is rampant in prisons,” the minister told state media.
Although homosexuality is a touchy subject in Zimbabwe, the minister said the issue should be discussed at the International Conference on Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections which Zimbabwe will host in November.
“As Zimbabweans, we have our own cultural expectations, but we do not have to run away from the idea that it (homosexuality) is happening in our prisons,” he said.
“We do not expect any demonstrations for or against this cause, but as a ministry we will openly endorse the discussion at the conference towards achieving an HIV free generation.”
Infections were also increasing among the youth, the minister added.
“We also need to address the shooting percentage of STIs among our youths considering the high rates of teen pregnancies in the country.
“Long distance truck drivers also fall under our key populations as prostitution is rampant while they conduct their duty,” he said.
By Staff Reporter.