‘In dealing with HIV/AIDS, we need quick solutions’
-- Health Minister advocates condoms for prisoners
Guyana Chronicle
December 8, 2003

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GINA -Minister of Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has said that he is convinced that condoms should be made available in prisons throughout the country.

He said this recently at the launching ceremony of the HIV/AIDS Information Centre at the University of Guyana, Berbice Campus.

The Health Minister pointed out that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is driven through certain risky behaviours and noted that unprotected sex is a risk under certain circumstances.

"One such environment of danger is our prisons where men having sex with men constitute a behaviour of grave danger. This is a serious problem in every country," Ramsammy said.

He emphasised that it is a dangerous prison practice that has led and can lead to the exposure of many persons once an infected prisoner is released.

"As Minister of Health, the issue is not limited to the morality or immorality, the correctness or incorrectness of these acts in prisons. We must confront the stark reality that many men leave the prisons system infected with a deadly virus that can spread to others in the wider community," Ramsammy said.

The Minister said that prison authorities must use all means to reduce HIV transmission. He acknowledged that he might be criticised for this view.

"Many of my brothers and sisters will think that I am immoral, lacking integrity and not worthy of the esteem they might have held me in once. But no one can deny that I am courageous," Ramsammy added. (Government Information Agency)