In the New York state prisons, urgent attention is needed to reduce the HIV/ AIDS epidemic. From a survey done in the recent years, it has shown that the HIV infected inmates are increasing each year.
The inmates do not get enough and fair health care while in the prison. They should be educated and given prevention programs so that the transmission rate can reduce in the prisons as well as the community (Boutwell& Rich, 2004). The inmates are at a very high risk of contracting the virus and then they go back to the society with little idea of the disease; how it is spread and prevented. Therefore, the prisons have become breeding places for HIV/AIDS which then spreads to the community.
The health department in US intends to expand testing of HIV to the inmates because they found that twenty percent of the inmates are HIV positive (Mutter et al, 1994). The health department has initiated a program called pilot program that allocates the coordinators for patient care to HIV-infected inmates in the same jail. The program targets all the jails and aims at connecting all the HIV- positive inmates to the community care after they get released from the prison.
Efforts made to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS in the New York prisons
HIV rates are very high among the African American prisoners and it is six times that of the population in general. In the year 2008, more than twenty thousand inmates were HIV positive; the female inmates were the most affected with 1.9% while the male inmates were 1.7% (Boutwell& Rich, 2004).
The local facilities determine the medical care of any prison or jail. Generally, the inmates do not receive adequate health care that meet the standards of public health. In New York, there is a constitutional right for the healthcare of the prisoners. If care is not provided to them, then this is termed as an unusual punishment (Krebs, 2006). On the other hand, the inmates need to support their own care by understanding their illnesses and making sure that they obtain suitable care in the prison or jail.
The AIDS Institute’s Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI) was created to respond to the prevention and services for the HIV positive inmates in the New York State. Its main goal is to offer a complete, unified range of excellent HIV prevention and helpful services to individuals as well as those going back to the society. The services are usually made to reduce the transmission of HIV in the prisons and to enhance good health and happiness of the individuals who already have the disease.
Factors that lead to the spread of HIV/ AIDS in the New York prisons
Since there is a great increase in the number of inmates getting infected with HIV/AIDs, the setting in the prisons should be a focus in addressing such epidemics. The inmates should be tested more often so that those infected with the disease are identified, and given adequate care while still in prison so that primary and secondary prevention goals are achieved (Krebs, 2006). Resources for carrying out routine testing should be available as well as provision of complete HIV care so that the epidemic is stopped.
HIV transmission among the New York prison inmates mainly occurs due to sex between two males or two females. Tattooing in the prisons also increases HIV transmission thus the need for HIV prevention programs in these prisons (Mutter R. et al, 1994).
It is apparent that HIV is transmitted in prisons due to the behaviors that occur among the inmates. From a survey done in the New York state prisons, the characteristics of the inmates who are likely to contract the disease while still in prison are: black and younger inmates, inmates who have been imprisoned due to sexual crimes and those inmates who have stayed in prison for a longer time.
List of References
Boutwell A& Rich J. (2004) “HIV Infection behind bars.” Clinical Infectious Diseases. 38(2):1761-1763.
Krebs C. (2006) “Inmate factors associated with HIV transmission in prison.” Criminology and Public Policy. 5(1):113-135.
Mutter R.et al. (1994) “Evidence of intra prison spread of HIV infection.” Archives of Internal Medicine. 154(7):793-795.