PSI HIV/AIDS Program Reaches Out to Prisoners in Mexico
August 26, 2008
Population Services International has created HIV/AIDS awareness programs inside five Mexican prisons to address myths surrounding the disease and prevent its spread, the New York Times reports. According to the Times, scientific surveys of HIV/AIDS rates in Mexican prisons do not exist, and prison authorities are hesitant to admit that the disease is a problem. In addition, widespread testing inside prisons has not taken place, the Times reports. Officials say that there are 62 inmates in prisons in Mexico City living with HIV/AIDS, a figure experts believe to "substantially understate the danger," according to the Times. Ricardo Roman Vergara, who helps run the PSI sessions, said that facts about the disease are scarce within prisons and that many inmates believe the virus is spread by kissing, shared toothbrushes or mosquitoes. The sessions provide inmates with information about safer-sex practices and transmission of the virus through shared needles and syringes, according to the Times. Ruben Fernandez Lima -- the warden at Reclusorio Preventivo Oriente, one of the largest prisons in Mexico and at which PSI runs sessions -- said that he does not know how many people are living with HIV/AIDS in the prison but that he thinks it is "minimal. It's almost nothing" (Lacey, New York Times, 8/26).
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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.