Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Blind Eye Over An Open Grave

"Tens of thousands of prisoners around the country are infected with the virus that causes AIDS, making prisons one of the most potentially dangerous incubators of the epidemic," began the editors. Such a concentration of HIV-infected prisoners "means that healthy inmates run an increased risk of catching the disease by having sex or sharing hypodermic needles with them -- behaviors that are illegal but widespread in American prisons." But most prisons "ignore these risks" and do not provide "adequate tools to slow the spread of the virus. Only a few prison and jail systems in the country offer condoms for safer sex or bleach to disinfect needles. This is shortsighted. Officials should not only work to reduce prisoners' risk of catching AIDS in prison, they should also help a captive audience learn about safer practices in a way that would stick when the inmates returned to the community," asserted the editors. Although "the amount of AIDS transmission in prison is unknown... there is anecdotal evidence that people have gotten HIV in prison, and it is very likely that the number is high," the editors wrote. One Tennessee study "found that 28 percent of inmates reported injecting drugs in prison. Since needles are rare behind prison walls, they are almost always shared, accelerating the spread of AIDS," they wrote. The editors also pointed to consensual homosexual behavior and forcible sex as modes of HIV transmission among prisoners.


A Blind Eye Over An Open grave

Once again I am talking about the one item that belittles all others, AIDS. I have written many articles about what is going on in Africa and I have written about conditions in U.S. prisons, they both are spiraling out of control and no amount of pontificating on talk shows, no conferences or books written are going to alleviate the problem any time soon. What it takes is funding and the ability to interpret what must be done. As you read above prisons, very few of them offer any way of combating AIDS to those in incarceration. Going to jail for a minor felony should not be a death sentence.
Like those prisoners who were tricked into subjecting themselves to drug trials in lieu of cash the prisoners in American jails are involved in a total denial by the justice system as to what a hibernation of an incurable illness can generate.
The Black Death, the influenza epidemic all forms of terrorizing outbreaks eventually found cures but it is hard to imagine AIDS as anything but a serious and earth cleansing epidemic. Some of the world’s most dangerous viruses are kept and studied in labs safe from infecting anyone. You can spin it in anyway you like but our government it seems to turn a blind eye to those incarcerated.

- Chris Mansel

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