THE number of men having sex with fellow men in exchange for money has increased in Livingstone, Southern Province AIDS coordination advisor Rosemary Makasu has disclosed.
Mrs Makasu said the trend is escalating in the tourist capital owing to the city being a transit point.
This came to light during the National HIV/AIDS stakeholder’s strategic framework plan meeting.
“Livingstone has seen an increase in the number of male sex workers. Most of them are mobile as they travel from other parts of the country into the tourist capital,” she said.
Mrs Makasu said the vice has become a ‘lucrative business’.
“Some of these men even fight each other in some of the joints over foreign clients who seek their services. It seems lucrative as some of them have even constructed houses using the income they generate,” she said.
She said the trend has never been documented despite its negative impact on the fight against HIV/AIDS.
And National AIDS Council director of programmes Fortune Chibamba said the prevalence rate for HIV is high amongst men having sex with fellow men.
And NAC grants and decentralised response coordinator William Sikazwe said they have identified men having sex with fellow men as a key driver in the spread of HIV.
“The men having sex with fellow men want to show that they are straight, so they marry and have children, too. This makes them prone to HIV infection and they are likely to infect their wives,” he said.
Mr Sikazwe said lubricants are not readily available in the country for people who engage in the activity.
Meanwhile, former Livingstone district AIDS coordinator Stephen Ndebele said there is need for NAC to lobby Government to change its policy on condom use in prisons.
Mr Ndebele said this is because the inmates are later incorporated into society after leaving prison.