HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH PRISON PROJECT
HIV/AIDS IN PRISONS
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,
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: