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As a result, many do not know their HIV status, let alone access treatment.

However, Zimbabwean organisations that support the rights of men who have sex with men and their access to HIV services do exist, such as Gays and Lesbians Zimbabwe (GALZ).

However, there is a large discrepancy between men and women, with 76% of women and girls living with HIV aware of their status, compared to 68% of positive men and boys.20 The number of HIV tests carried out in Zimbabwe has increased from 19.4 million in 2011 to 22 million in 2015, although this figure is below the government’s intended target of 25.2 million.21 The Zimbabwe Demographic Heath Survey 2015 (ZDHS 2015) shows an increase in testing, with 49% of women reporting being tested in the last 12 months compared to 34% in 2011.

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As a consequence of this punitive law, national statistics are rarely available.

Criminalising men who have sex with men drives this vulnerable group away from HIV services.

This hampers sex workers' ability to negotiate condom use with clients, heightening their risk of HIV.15 However, a criminal case against nine sex workers in 2015, which found in the sex workers’ favour due to the absence of a client being present at their time of arrest was widely reported in Zimbabwe’s media as signifying that the police were no longer allowed to arrest sex workers.

In a survey of just under 3,000 female sex workers, around 50% reported having been stopped by the police in 2013, but by 2016, among this same group of sex workers, 30% reported being stopped.16 We used to be rounded up in the streets even if we were caught just standing there, but now they can’t do that unless there is a client there as well. I’m sure it will also make them think and realise that we are also human beings.

Better inclusion of sex worker-led groups in HIV prevention initiatives would help improve the health of sex workers and the population as a whole.