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HIV in Prisons

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Court Forms Committee to Address HIV in Prisons
Lack of treatment for prisoners with HIV in jails has come to the attention of the Bombay High Court which has formed a committee to frame guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of HIV in the country’s prisons

The Bombay High Court, on September 11, 2008, formed a committee to create guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of HIV in prisons, in response to the increasing spread of the virus among inmates.

During the hearing of a bail application filed by an HIV-positive prisoner serving a life sentence in Pune’s Yerawada jail, the high court was informed that 32 HIV-positive people had died in the jail between 2001 and 2006.

Justices Ranjana Desai and D Y Chandrachud requested that Advocate General Ravi Kadam work with the inspector-general of prisons to complete a draft of the guidelines by October 1, 2008.

Justice Desai said the guidelines should address prevention and treatment for prisoners living with HIV/AIDS. Justice Chandrachud added: “The issue of sexual contact between prison inmates will have to be confronted.”

The justices also discussed the idea of counselling centres in each of Maharashtra’s 36 prisons, and making antiretroviral therapy (ART) available in jails. The petitioner’s lawyer, Rajesh Bindra, noted that at Yerawada jail, four physicians provide care to around 4,000 inmates, and that help could come from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) to improve prison infrastructure.

Bindra had claimed at an earlier hearing on September 5 that jail officials were flouting NACO guidelines on ensuring that HIV-positive prisoners were taken to ART centres on a regular basis. He had said that denial of medical treatment to his 30-year-old client amounted to a violation of his fundamental rights and sought his client’s release on bail to enable him to receive proper treatment.

Source: Daily News & Analysis, September 12, 2008
Daily News & Analysis, September 6, 2008





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