A Papua New Guinea (PNG) study released today calls for condoms to be made more widely available in prisons.
“All prisoners must have condoms,” Angela Kelly, one of the authors of the study by the PNG Institute of Medical Research, told IRIN, noting that they could help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Although condoms are one of the government’s key HIV prevention tools, there is no official policy in place regarding prisons, with many viewing their distribution as supporting male-to-male sex which is illegal in PNG.
The study found that unsafe, forced and consensual male-to-male sex was taking place in four of the country’s 19 overcrowded prisons visited; some sexual relations were long-term, some sex was for goods or as a punishment, and some involved more than one partner.
Only one of the four prisons provided condoms to inmates; most prison staff believed condoms encouraged sex, the study found. While there is no figure for HIV prevalence in PNG prisons, it is widely believed to exceed the national average of 0.8 percent.