The health minister in Tanzania Ummy Mwalimu has made the controversial – not exactly sane decision – to ban personal lubricants (‘lube’) in the country in the hope men will be less inclined to sleep with each other.
‘I have instructed stakeholders working with gay people to remove the products from the market,’ she told local media.
Besides encouraging homosexuality Mwalimu believes lube to be to blame for HIV infections in the country. About 5% are infected in Tanzania.
‘It is true that the government has banned the importation and use of the jelly to curb the spread of HIV,” Mwalimu told local media on Tuesday.
It is estimated that 23% of men who have sex with men in Tanzania are living with HIV/AIDS,’ she concludes.
Conversely, it is likely HIV rates among men who have sex with men (MSM) will actually increase following the ban.
Money for lube will now be spent on ‘beds for the maternity wards’, she says.
Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, which can be punished by life imprisonment.
Tanzania is bordered by Uganda, Malawi and Kenya, where homosexuality is also severely penalized.
While arrests have been rare, there have been recent crackdowns on suspected gay people and police raids in gay clubs the large city of Dar Es Salaam.
A 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project survey found 95% of Tanzanians said homosexuality cannot be accepted in society.