A 30-year-old law in Namibia banning male-to-male sex is coming in the way of condom distribution in the country's prisons and hindering HIV prevention efforts, according to HIV/AIDS advocates.
Government officials hold the view that condom distribution would promote sex between men, which is outlawed under the 1977 Criminal Procedures Act. They think, "By giving (prisoners) a condom, you are telling them to go ahead and do it." They also think the "majority" of cases involving men who have sex with men in prison are consensual and that inmates do not want condoms because they do not "want to be seen as having sex with other men."
However, according to prison sources, instances of rape still occur between men in prison and condoms are needed to protect inmates. "We are sitting on a time bomb. The prevalence rate will increase if we do not protect the new HIV-negative prisoners from those who are positive from reinfection," they said.