THE Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) has said its members are being discriminated against in remote parts of the country when accessing HIV and AIDS treatments.
GALZ programs manager Samuel Matsikure said unless addressed, the situation is likely to derail efforts by government to reduce further the national HIV prevalence which declined to 15% from peaks of over 26% in 1999.
Speaking during a health symposium organised by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights in Harare this week, Matsikure said: “In the rural areas it (discrimination) is happening.
“Gays and lesbians experience this on daily basis. They do not report this case because they know that they do not get assistance.”
President Robert Mugabe routinely denounces the gay community, describing them as worse than dogs and pigs. The Zanu PF leader even threatened to jail them as he campaigned for a new five year term in office in the July 31 elections.
However, the head of TB and AIDS in the mealth ministry, Dr Owen Mugurungi, said it was not government policy to discriminate against patients.
“The bottom line is we cannot eradicate HIV as long as we leave other people behind. So we all need to work together to make sure that we have a comprehensive HIV and AIDS response,” he warned.