Through awareness campaign on HIV held in the prisons of Beni on 9 and 10 February, 2016, the HIV/AIDS Section of MONUSCO is intensifying its activities in the North Kivu Province, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
During this campaign, the inmates of the two prisons of Beni have been sensitized on ways to protect themselves and protect others as well during their stay in the prison and even beyond the prison - and have been trained and sensitized on how they could lead a positive and responsible life after leaving the prison.
The aim of this campaign was to educate not only the prisoners but also the penitentiary staffs, on HIV prevention and to launch an appeal against stigma and discrimination directed at people living with HIV.
In the DRC as elsewhere, high-risk behavior seems to be an important factor that contributes to the spread of HIV in prisons. For this reason, the HIV/AIDS Section has embarked on an awareness campaign to reduce the effects of HIV and AIDS in correctional facilities in the country.
The Deputy Director of Kangbayi prison asked the prisoners, during the sensitization, to take the necessary measures to avoid the spread of HIV. He therefore invited the prisoners to follow prevention rules made available by the HIV/AIDS Section.
While thanking MONUSCO for this very important gesture, he asked all prisoners to maintain responsible behaviour. "From this moment we must adopt responsible behaviour," he said, stressing the fact that the detainees are a group at high risk of contracting and transmitting HIV.
It is very important to note here that by sensitizing the prisoners, MONUSCO has continued to play its important role of supporting the fight against HIV in the DRC.
By Joseph Tabung Banah