Partners in the Struggle against HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS Campaigner, Benjamin Mazhindu, at a GALZ access to treatment meeting

Although it is widely acknowledged, even by opponents of the LGBT cause, that HIV transmission in Zimbabwe takes place largely through heterosexual sex, official statistics for same-sex transmission are not collected at present, so it is unclear what the infection rate is amongst Men who have Sex with Men and Women who have Sex with Women in this country. It is acknowledged, however, that HIV transmission is high in prisons although the Zimbabwean Parliament still refuses to allow the distribution of condoms to prisoners.

GALZ began HIV awareness amongst its membership within months of the organisation starting operations and at a time when there was complete denial in official circles that HIV posed any threat to Zimbabwean society. But, as late as 2000, GALZ was not made welcome within the HIV/AIDS network, it being feared that, with government’s anti-gay stance, any links with a gay and lesbian organisation would threaten chances of government funding HIV/AIDS organisations and their activities. Homophobic elements also disagreed, on principle, with any involvement by GALZ in national HIV/AIDS intervention work.

The efforts of GALZ activists such as Peter Joaneti, Romeo Tshuma and Lynde Francis (HIV positive themselves) helped rectify the situation and, today, GALZ is well embedded within the HIV/AIDS movement and active in local and regional campaigns for access to affordable treatment for all people living with HIV.

Major partners of GALZ in the field of HIV/AIDS include: