THE Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (ZCLDN) has applauded the recent announcement made by the Government that it wants to repeal a legal provision that criminalizes willful transmission of HIV/AIDS to a partner in line with global trends and standards.
Speaking in parliament during the question and answer session Wednesday last week ,Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi said the government is currently working on the Marriages Amendment Bill which will see transmission of HIV/AIDS to a partner decriminalized.
“But global thinking is that the law stigmatizes people living with HIV and AIDS. Studies have shown that it does not produce the intended results that it is intended to achieve and so what the ministry is going to do is repeal that section of the law,” said Ziyambi Ziyambi.
Responding to the government position, ZCLDN said “the global thinking is that this legal provision stigmatizes People Living With HIV/AIDS and as an organisation that deals with key populations, we warmly welcome the justice minister’s response.”
The organisation added that Zimbabwe should keep abreast with modern trends especially regarding the rights of key populations who for years have faced stigma, discrimination, unlawful arrests, incarceration and untimely deaths.
“As ZCLDN, we note with concern that the law besides causing stigma to People Living With HIV/AIDS, was being used by other people to settle personal differences, resulting in some People Living With HIV/AIDS hauled before the courts of law and serving time in prison,” said the organisation.
According to the Oslo Declaration on HIV criminalisation, the practice was doing more harm than good to public health and human rights.
A growing body of evidence suggests that the criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, potential exposure and non-intentional transmission is doing more harm than good in terms of its impact on public health and human rights.
ZCLDN urged drug users to always practice safe sex at all times while avoiding willful transmission of the virus.