The newly-formed gay movement in Malawi is committed to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS by advocating female condoms, Africa News reports.

Chairperson of the committee of Malawi Gay Rights Movement (Magrim) Ruth (committee members have asked for their surnames to be kept from the press) said in an interview today that members will use female condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The news came at a female condom presentation by a gay rights delegation visiting from the U.S, in the city of Blantyre.

The delegation donated 15 cartons of female condoms to Magrim.

Ruth said that Malawians must recognise gays and lesbians as “normal” people, and that they would act responsibly in the face of HIV/AIDS.

She said: “We will use condoms where necessary.

“People have the wrong conception that whatever homosexuals do is associated with HIV and AIDS, but that is due to ignorance because there are a lot of things gays and lesbians do that do not expose one to the risk of contracting HIV and AIDS.”

Ruth also attacked the notion, popular in Malawi, that homosexuality is a foreign trait that travellers perpetuate in the country.

“As it is at the moment, all our members are people born and bred in Malawi,” She said.

“We are all indigenous Malawians at the moment but are looking forward to welcoming everybody.

“Practicing gays from outside the country are especially asked to come forward so that we may learn from their experience.

“This we say because we are bracing for tough times ahead, where people and various government officials will try to frustrate us.

“We know that we will contribute positively towards sustainable social-economic development; and that people will come to appreciate us. These things take time.”

Magrim was formed this month because as homosexuality is a criminal offence punishable by hard labour in Malawi.

The launch for the association, which reportedly has 3,890 members, is planned for 13th September 2008, with outreach work scheduled to begin in November.