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Prisoners must be tested for HIV - Skosana


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 on Tuesday.

"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.


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Information in this article was accurate in September 19, 2000. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.