Proximity to sex workers puts Malawi Policemen at risk –UNFPA research

Research conducted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) indicates that HIV prevalence among Police officers in only second to that of sex workers.

This was divulged during a workshop in which PaKachere Institute for Health and Development is training Police officers’ wives on HIV prevention.

On the sidelines of the workshop at Shire Highlands Hotel in Blantyre on Friday, PaKachere programme manager Basimenye Nhlema told Nyasa Times that the nature of their work put Policemen at a greater risk of contacting the HIV virus.

“Because of the nature of their work, Policemen encounter sex workers on a regular basis and, in the process, some of them end up sleeping with them and end up contacting HIV which they pass on to their spouses.

Kanyama: Decried death of many young cops

“What we have to understand is that because their work is dangerous by nature, Policemen do not view having protected sex as a priority or as being that dangerous. So these trainings are aimed at raising awareness about how their actions have an impact on their families,” she said.

According to Nhlema, the first phase of the project brought together Policemen to try and see what can be done to mitigate the problem.

“This second phase involves these trainings with the spouses because we realize that we cannot address by talking to the men alone.

“We also have to understand the dynamics of a policeman’s wife, she is not dealing with just any man; she is dealing with a man with power. So we have to be to equip them on how to deal with this and on what they can do to encourage their husbands to refrain,” she told Nyasa Times.

Nhlema said PaKachere has so far trained 120 Policemen’s spouses across the country.

Making her presentation, wife to Southern Region Police Commissioner Esnath Kanyama decried the death of young and capable Police officers to the epidemic.

“When you think of it, had they been alive, they would have helped curb insecurity and helped develop the country,” she said.

The Police is one of the organisations in the country with the highest rates of HIV/Aids and despite a few efforts to curb the spread of the disease, the results are not positive.

It is rumoured that some police officers demand sex from female detainees and prostitutes.

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