iClinic - September 19, 2000
The high number of prisoners makes it difficult to maintain
health and hygiene standards in SA prisons - HIV testing of
inmates is becoming increasingly necessary, Minister of
Correctional Services Ben Skosana told reporters in Cape Town
"Effective strategies are required to curb the epidemic within
this unique environment to reduce the impact of the epidemic on
those infected and to prevent the spread of infection to those
who are healthy," says Skosana.
Skosana says that the increase in inmates with HIV/AIDS from 1
094 in July 1997 to 3 209 in July 2000 means that a large
number of those infected will require continuous care and
support within the prison healthcare system.
According to Skosana, the way to address HIV/AIDS in prisons is
to implement anonymous HIV testing to determine the extent of
the epidemic among inmates, determine risk factors/behaviours
of prisoners, benchmark health services and practices with
international standards and redefine and develop a new HIV/AIDS
policy to deal with the challenges in prisons.
He says that a draft policy has been produced by the department
of correctional services which addresses issues of HIV/AIDS
testing and counselling, screening of offenders and segregation
of HIV-positive offenders, health awareness and information,
availability of condoms and management of STDs and rape in
prisons, among other things.