28 November 2018
ZIMBABWE Prison and Correctional Service has embarked on an exercise to ascertain whether inmates are getting infected by HIV and Aids during incarceration.
Dubbed “HIV Incidents Survey”, the exercise which has already started is expected to come up with the results within six months.
ZPCS medical doctor Senior Assistant Commissioner Evidence Gaka revealed this on the sidelines of cholera preventive measures that will see inmates and prison officers along with their families receiving a single-dose of oral cholera vaccine.
“We do not know yet whether inmates are getting infected during incarceration and because we do not know we still feel it’s important that we should know whether inmates are getting infected during their time in prison,” said Snr Ass-Com Gaka.
“We have embarked on a study called HIV Incidents Survey to see whether inmates are getting infected during their time in prison or not.
“We will compare the figures with the national incidents rate which will tell us to say there indeed there infections during incarceration or not.
“If there are infections we will see if they are higher or lower than in the general population. We will be guided by the results of that survey.
“For your own information we are taking all the preventive measures that you can think of that are being practiced in the general population that includes male circumcision among others.
“The survey is under way and we hope to get the preliminary results soon.
“Within six months from now we should be able to tell HIV positivity rate to say for example out of 100 inmates who are coming as newly admitted into prison how many are already positive and that will not take more time.
“We will make a follow up to those who are HIV negative until the end point when they become positive but the survey would be extended up to two months if need be.
“If we get the results within 12 months there will be no point to continue,” said Snr Ass-Comm Gaka.
As for cholera, Snr Ass-Com Gaka said all prisons are yet to record a single case as compared to previous epidemic.
“Today we thank the support from our leaders as we witness Commissioner General Paradzai Zimondi receiving oral vaccination to prevent cholera.
“Our officers are the long serving members in our prisons so they need to be prevented from the epidemic as well apart from the inmates,” said Snr Ass-Com Gaka.
Meanwhile, Chitungwiza Central Hospital matron Octavia Munyukwi attended Commissioner General Paradzai Zimondi to mark the beginning of oral vaccine to prevent cholera to inmates and officers.