Zimbabwe’s oldest university has banned students of the opposite sex from spending the night together on campus, amid concern about the spread of HIV.
Levi Nyagura, vice-chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, said that 47 per cent of students at the institution who had volunteered for testing had been found to be HIV positive.
He said that, as a result, he had been forced to prohibit female and male students from “cohabitation” during their time at university.
“The grim statistics of sexually transmitted diseases at the institution have forced us to have a limit for inter-residence visits between female and male students,” Professor Nyagura was quoted as saying by the Harare-based Herald.
“We have consulted lots of parents and all of them do not want to promote promiscuity by allowing students to enjoy married lifestyles by staying with their girlfriends in the halls of residence.”
Professor Nyagura also expressed concern about the number of female students getting pregnant, claiming that one hall of residence “had almost become like a maternity wing”.
It was not clear how representative the students who underwent voluntary testing were of the university’s intake as a whole.
Jimmy Wilford, director of HIV awareness organisation Saywhat, was quoted by the Herald as saying that Professor Nyagura’s comments could send the wrong message, since some students could have been born with HIV.