High Number of HIV Cases Found Among Female Inmates in Washington, D.C.
August 2, 2007
A high number of HIV cases has been detected among female inmates in the Washington, D.C., jail, according to data released recently by the district Department of Health as part of a summary of its six-month campaign encouraging district residents to be tested for HIV, the Washington Post reports (Levine, Washington Post, 8/2).
According to officials, fighting the spread of HIV in the district's jail is essential to citywide efforts because nine out of 10 inmates are released within 30 days. The district's jail is one of a few facilities nationwide that automatically tests for HIV upon entry and release unless an inmate refuses to receive a test. According to district officials, fewer than 10% of inmates refuse a test. The not-for-profit group Unity Health Care provides treatment for inmates who test positive for the virus, the Post reports.
A December 2006 report by the DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice praised the Department of Corrections' approach to testing inmates but said the department should provide counseling and HIV/AIDS education for all inmates, regardless of their HIV status, the Post reports. According to Brown, such efforts have been implemented, beginning with HIV-themed programs played on the jail's television system. "You literally have a captive audience," he said, adding that women pay closer attention to the programs than men (Washington Post, 8/2).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.