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Improving the lives of HIV positive offenders in Southern Africa

In the latest Eldis blog post, Kaday Mansaray Sibanda - VSO’s Regional Director for Southern Africa - shares VSO's experience with improving the lives of HIV positive offenders both inside prison and on their release.

Prison conditions in the Southern Africa region are pretty dire. Over-crowded and unsanitary conditions put prisoners already living with HIV and AIDS at increased risk of illness. Risky behaviour, like sharing needles and razor blades as well as unprotected sex in prison, lead to higher than average rates of HIV transmission. On their release, most HIV positive prisoners receive little or no support due to stigma and discrimination in their own communities.

VSO has worked to address this problem in targeted prisons in South Africa since 2000. In 2014, we expanded this work to Malawi. In January this year we were awarded a Big Lottery (UK) grant which will enable us to do similar work in Zimbabwe: improving the lives of HIV positive offenders both inside prison and on their release.

We are in a strong position to learn from these 15 years of experience working on HIV in prisons, so we don’t repeat mistakes and build on the very best practice we have learned.

Read more here about what VSO has learned from their experience...

Kaday Mansaray Sibanda

Kaday Mansaray Sibanda is VSO's Regional Director for Southern Africa.