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New York Times
Panel Proposes AIDS Program To Help Inmates
BRUCE LAMBERT
December 1, 1989
LEAD: A New York State advisory panel proposed major new programs yesterday to deal with the rising epidemic of AIDS among prison inmates, and health and prison officials endorsed the proposals as a strong plan for action.

A New York State advisory panel proposed major new programs yesterday to deal with the rising epidemic of AIDS among prison inmates, and health and prison officials endorsed the proposals as a strong plan for action.

Prisons could become a "charnel house" of inmates "consigned to a tragic and hastened death" unless such steps are taken, the panel warned.

Among the recommendations in its report are the creation of two AIDS wards to be run by private hospitals, expansion of nursing-home care for inmates, humane early release from prison for dying inmates, encouragement of testing with privacy protections, early medical intervention for those infected but not yet sick, access to experimental drugs, treatment for drug addiction, and support groups and counseling for prison staff members, inmates and their families.

One state official, who requested anonymity, estimated that the expanded health services could cost $70 million a year.

The report, made public yesterday by the state AIDS Advisory Council at a meeting in Manhattan, was prepared by a subcommittee whose chairman was Marvin E. Frankel, a former Federal judge. Study of Transmission Urged

Earlier studies also criticized AIDS services for inmates, but the report released yesterday was prepared in consultation with the State Department of Correctional Services, which runs the prisons.

Dr. David E. Rogers, chairman of the AIDS council, discussed prisons and other AIDS issues with Gov. Mario M. Cuomo on Tuesday and described him as concerned and receptive. Dr. Robert B. Greifinger, the prison agency's new deputy commissioner for health services, said the report was "supportive of my intitiatives."

AIDS is the leading cause of death in New York's prisons, with an inmate dying of it every other day. There are 827 reported cases of prisoners with AIDS and an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 more infected.

The report urged the State Department of Health to determine whether acquired immune deficiency syndrome was being spread sexually within prisons. If so, the report said, correction officials should permit condoms, which are now contraband.

Dr. Greifinger said that if transmission could be shown, the Correction Commissioner, Thomas A. Coughlin 3d, would support making condoms available.

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