A Swaziland politician has caused a major uproar in the tiny kingdom after proposing that saying HIV positive people to be branded on the buttocks.
Timothy Myeni said all Swazis should be tested for HIV and their backsides marked if infected.
“I have a solution to this virus. The solution will come from a law that will make it compulsory to test for HIV. Once you test positive, you should be branded on the buttocks,” said Myeni who is a member of parliament.
“Before having sex with anyone, people will check the buttocks of their partners before proceeding,” a newspaper reported him saying.
Landlocked Swaziland is one of the world’s poorest nations with the highest HIV prevalence in the world under the rule of Africa’s last absolute monarch King Mswati III.
But days later Miyeni, who leads a popular gospel group, has stuck to his call for compulsory HIV testing but apologised for the buttocks branding suggestion.
“I’m very sorry for saying HIV positive people should be branded. I did not know it would turn out like this.
“I have seen that the suggestion was very offensive and many think I was discriminating, so I withdraw my statement,” he said.
The disease in Swaziland, which has the world’s highest HIV/AIDS prevalence and is also one of the poorest, has shaved about 1.3 percent from its annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth, the IMF said early this year.