Just listened to a very interesting report on BBC radio as I was driving in to the office today:

In Zambian prisons basic necessities such as soap, shampoo, toilet paper and even food are extremely scarce. As a result prisoners have begun a black market of sorts to purchase the items that they need, the main currency in this black market...sex. The major problem with this is that approximately 27% of the Zambian prison population is H.I.V. positive, a statistic that is higher than in the rest of the Zambian population.

Recently when one of Zambia's leading medical researchers did a study on the overall health of Zambia's prison population he discovered that nearly 100% of inmates admitted to exchanging sex, either due to force or willingly, for goods/food. Statistically speaking it is only a matter of time before an inmate will contract H.I.V.

One solution that has been proposed to combat the spread of H.I.V. within prison's is the distribution of condoms to the prisoners. However because homosexuality is illegal in Zambia the government will not allow this to happen. On top of the government rejection, there has been strong opposition by Christian's on moral grounds.

It was this last bit that really struck me. The question that comes to mind is this, "what is more immoral, the practice of homosexuality (for those that believe that it is a sin) or to hand a person a death sentence (H.I.V./AIDS) when it is in your power to stop it?"

Perhaps I'm just setting up a "Straw Man" but this is the way my mind thinks at times.

I'm sure there are other ways to curtail the spread of H.I.V. within Zambia's prisons other than simply distributing condoms, and I would certainly hope that the church's in Zambia are working to make this happen, although I can't speak to that.

Something to think about


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