Tanzania recently banned lube as part of an ongoing crackdown on the country’s LGBTI community.
The country’s health minister Ummy Mwalimu confirmed the ban on personal lubricant.
“It is true that the government has banned the importation and use of the jelly to curb the spread of HIV.
“I have instructed stakeholders working with gay people to remove the products from the market.”
She reportedly said that the lubricants encourage homosexuality. The east African country bans homosexuality and punishes it with life imprisonment.
Such a ban would directly contradict UNAIDS’ recommendation that water-based lubricant is distributed with condoms to prevent the spread of HIV in high prevalence areas.
Previously, Human Rights Watch accused Tanzania of human rights violations against its LGBTI people. They reported LGBTI people face widespread police abuse and are also denied access to information about HIV.
“The government’s HIV policy can’t succeed if police are driving away the very people the public health programmes most need to reach,” HRW researcher Neela Ghoshal said in 2013.
Activists say even before the ban, people in Tanzania struggled to find retail suppliers of lubricants. Those retailers who sold the product also placed a prohibitively high price on it, unaffordable to most Tanzanians.
Following the news that authorities banned lube, they said people will return to using saliva, margarine, Vaseline and cooking oil.
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