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Please see the following cites for more recent work on Prisons and HIV/AIDS.



The HIV/AIDS epidemic has struck prisons, jails, and other places of detention with particular severity. Penal institutions around the world have grossly disproportionate rates of HIV infection and of confirmed AIDS cases. In the United States in 1994, for example,

[T]he situation [of HIV/AIDS in prisons] is an urgent one. It involves the rights to health, security of person, equality before the law and freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment. It must be urgently addressed for the sake of the health, rights and dignity of prisoners; for the sake of the health and safety of the prison staff; and for the sake of the communities from which prisoners come and to which they return.

there were 5.2 cases of AIDS per 1,000 prisoners, nearly six times the incidence found in the general adult population. French prisoners are estimated to be HIV-positive at a rate roughly ten times that of other adults. Prisoners in Brazil and Argentina, among other countries, have even higher levels of HIV-infection.

Not only do people entering prison tend to have a relatively high incidence of HIV, prisons provide a perfect breeding ground for transmission of the virus. High-risk behaviors, such as injecting-drug use and unprotected sex, including coerced sex, are common in prisons around the world. Health care is usually substandard and sometimes nonexistent.

Rather than providing prisoners with prevention tools -- notably, condoms, for safe sex, and liquid bleach, for sterilizing needles and syringes -- prison administrators frequently bar the entry of these items. Even HIV/AIDS education, which could help prisoners understand their vulnerability to the virus, is rarely found in the world's penal institutions.

The following links provide further useful information about HIV/AIDS in prisons:

[Back to the Human Rights Watch Prison Conditions Page]

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