Tuesday, November 20, 2012

HIV Prevention in Prisons & Jails

This is a thoughtful PBS piece on HIV surveillance, prevention and treatment comparing 2 systems in Washington, D.C. and Zimbabwe. The article praises recent changes at the D.C. jail that have provided improved HIV testing and treatment resources, as well as condom access and better transitions to outpatient care for prisoners leaving the facility. In contrast, the article cites a Zimbabwe study indicating 49% of prisoners engage in sexual intercourse, however, they are provided no access to condoms. This occurs because homosexuality is illegal in the country. In terms of HIV prevention efforts, not targeting sexual activity in prisons will propagate the epidemic, as 28% of the Zimbabwean inmates in this story were felt to be HIV positive. Although global efforts to both identify and treat HIV infections in prisons and jails are both necessary and laudable, basic efforts to prevent intra-facility HIV transmission (such as providing access to condoms) should also be emphasized.

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