South Africa: State Finally Outlines Prison HIV/AIDS Plan
September 14, 2006
On Sept. 8, South Africa's Department of Correctional Services (DCS) finally filed an affidavit with the Durban High Court outlining its plan to treat HIV-positive prisoners at the Westville Prison.
The filing follows a stern rebuke by Judge Chris Nicholson late last month for failing to respect a June decision in which Judge Thumba Pillay ordered the government to immediately provide antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to qualifying inmates. The government said it would appeal that order, and the 14 HIV-positive prisoners applied for an execution order pending an appeal.
In July, Pillay granted DCS leave to appeal against his earlier order that the government expedite ARV treatment. He also ordered DCS to execute the treatment order pending the appeal, but the government appealed that interim order as well.
The plan outlined in the affidavit addresses DCS efforts, including those already undertaken and those yet to be done. The Health and Home Affairs department must remove impediments to the provision of ARV therapy to prisoners with a CD4 count of less than 200, in accordance with the government's policy on free ARV treatment criteria, it said.
DCS interventions included increasing the number of accredited government ARV sites for prisoners, waiving the ID requirement for obtaining treatment, and the provisional free processing of ID applications for offenders who qualify for treatment. The department will appoint a project coordinator, three project doctors, two full-time counselors and a project dietitian.
Annexed to the affidavit was an outline of a comprehensive HIV/AIDS management program, as well as list of 114 prisoners who are already receiving treatment.
Business Day (Johannesburg)
09.11.2006; Ernest Mabuza
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.