AP/International Herald Tribune Examines Efforts Aimed at Providing Prison Inmates With Condoms to Reduce Spread of HIV, STIs
November 21, 2007
The AP/International Herald Tribune on Monday examined nationwide efforts to provide prison inmates with condoms in an attempt to reduce the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. According to the AP/Herald Tribune, efforts by HIV/AIDS and prisoners' rights advocates to distribute condoms in prisons have gone "almost nowhere" because some prison officials and politicians argue that they encourage sexual activity among inmates and can be used to hide drugs.
Condom programs are under way in jails in Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. According to Mary Sylla -- policy director for the Center for Health Justice, which distributes condoms in a prison unit reserved for men who have sex with men in Los Angeles -- there have been no security problems at the facility as a result of the program. "If there was a case of somebody doing something horrible with a condom, we would have heard about it -- it would be all over the corrections community," she said, adding, "But it doesn't happen."
However, some corrections officials "insist there are dangers" to condom distribution, the AP/Herald Tribune reports. Glenn Goord, New York state's former corrections commissioner, said that condoms are used to transport drugs and might encourage prison rapists, who could use them to avoid DNA evidence. There are no "authoritative" U.S. data on HIV/AIDS rates in federal prisons, but CDC released a report last year recommending that lawmakers consider a federal condom-distribution policy, the AP/Herald Tribune reports (AP/International Herald Tribune, 11/19).
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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.