Tanzania has stopped up to 40 privately run clinics from providing HIV-related services because they “cater to homosexuals”.

Homosexual activity is illegal in the country and punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

The latest move taken by the government was in reaction to a belief that non-governmental centres were using HIV treatment as a cover to promote gay sex, said Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu. Mr Mwalimu added the government would expand HIV services in clinics it controlled.

A third of gay men in the country already live with HIV, according to official statistics.

The move is the latest in a series by the country to restrict the rights of LGBT people. Six months ago, the Government threatened to ban civic groups that were pro-LGBT and deemed harmful to the “culture of Tanzanians”. This threat followed a similar one made in 2016. Last year, it also suspended its Government HIV outreach programme because “homosexuality was illegal”.