President Michael Sata’s wife Christine Kaseba says gay men are one of the main transmitters of HIV in Zambia.
The president’s wife was speaking at a UNAIDS programme coordinating board reception in Lusaka on Tuesday night.
She said there was need to break the silence on homosexuality among men if the imbalance was to be corrected as men having sexual intercourse with fellow men was one of the factors that put a lot of women at risk of contracting HIV.
“I am concerned about the vulnerability of our women married or in intimate relations with men who are having sex with men.
“We have evidence that a lot of our college boys are being enticed to have sex with men but at the same time they have girlfriends,” said Kaseba.
Dr Kaseba said that although there was a reduction in HIV infections, women and young girls still remained vulnerable. Dr Kaseba said women and girls carried a bigger burden of HIV/AIDS at 16.1 per cent compared to men at 12.3 per cent, and that the prevalence rate among women aged between 15 and 24 years was more than twice higher than that of men in the same age category.
Dr Kaseba said even if talking about homosexuality made a lot of people uncomfortable, there was need to talk about it because if left unchecked, it could derail the positive strides the country was making in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
She appealed to cooperating partners to consider requesting the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Health Assembly to reinstate homosexuality as a health issue to allow open discussions on the matter.
“These young people live in the world of technology, hence we need to take advantage of this in order to ensure that they have access to the information they need in order to take care of themselves,” she said.