Georgia Senate Passes Bill Requiring HIV Testing Among Prison Inmates Prior to Release
March 12, 2009
The Georgia Senate on Tuesday voted to pass a bill (S.B. 64) that would require HIV testing for inmates prior to their release from state prisons, GPB News reports. Current state law requires HIV tests when inmates enter the prison system. Under the new bill, the HIV tests, which cost about $4 each, would not be required unless the state agrees to fund them, GPB News reports. According to state Sen. Kasim Reed (D), the bill aims to stop the spread of HIV as data indicate that "when people know their status, they change their behavior." Some lawmakers opposed to the bill questioned if the testing requirements will actually protect people from the spread of HIV after former inmates living with the virus re-enter the community. State Sen. John Douglas (R) said there is "nothing to force" HIV-positive former inmates "to tell their partner that they have HIV." The bill now goes to the state House for consideration (Zornes, GPB News, 3/10).
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