AMID fears that HIV prevalence in Zanzibar is increasing, Ms Ashura Sharif Ali (Special Seats- CUF) has suggested that women and men engaged in commercial sex should be banned in the islands. “It is unacceptable to find people engaged in commercial sex and then educating them on how to avoid contracting HIV.

The only solution to addressing HIV prevalence is to prohibit prostitution,” Ms Ali said.

The legislator made the suggestion to prohibit prostitution when debating the 2015/2016 budget proposals for the First Vice-President’s Office after the minister, Ms Fatma Abdulhabib Fereji, who is responsible for the anti-HIV programme, said that the awareness campaign involved 150 prostitutes.

Ms Ali said that talking to commercial sex workers about safe sex was tantamount to promoting prostitution in the country, contrary to religious and traditional teachings. Mr Rufai Said Rufai (CUF-Tumbe) said taking alcoholic drinks greatly contributed to the increase in HIV spread, while Mr Mahmoud Mohamed Mussa (CCM-Kikwajuni) observed that the health problem remained a threat to both young and elderly people.

The Rep for Chakechake on the CUF ticket, Mr Omar Ali Sheh, said, “Anti-HIV strategies need reform. Conducting seminars is no longer a workable method. People living with HIV should be reached and supported to engage in the awareness programme and promote behaviour change.”

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