Contra Costa Times Examines Spread of HIV/AIDS Among California Prison Inmates
August 23, 2004
The Contra Costa Times on Sunday examined the spread of HIV in California prisons and the lack of efforts to educate inmates and parolees about the dangers of the disease. According to state prison officials, there are currently 1,163 HIV-positive men in state prisons. However, the actual number of HIV-positive male inmates could be much higher because the state's prisons only test inmates upon request. California is one of 31 states that does not conduct mandatory testing of inmates, according to the Times. Ray Currie, a field supervisor at the Pittsburg Pre-School and Community Council, said that it is difficult to determine whether an inmate contracted the virus inside or outside of prison because many inmates are incarcerated repeatedly. Inmates say that high-risk activities -- which contribute to the spread of HIV -- are commonplace. One inmate said that most men who contract HIV in prison do so through unprotected sex, while others contract the virus through injection drug use. Former prisoners say that inmates "have sex all the time without protection, whether it is consensual or forced," according to the Times. A 2002 investigation by the Los Angeles Times found that nearly 180,000 male inmates are raped annually in U.S. prisons, twice the number of all U.S. females raped in 1999. Some inmates say guards "just turn their heads the other way" during sexual encounters between inmates, according to the Times.
Lack of Protection, Education
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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