Report: One Out of Seven People Living with HIV Will Enter a Jail or Prison Each Year
Date:  05-10-2016

Which state is "ground zero" for the dual epidemics of HIV and incarceration?
From the summary of the Human Rights Watch report Paying the Price: Failure to Deliver HIV Services in Louisiana Parish Jails:

“Why don’t we do routine HIV testing? We cannot afford to treat someone who was identified as HIV-positive. It sounds cold, I know, but that is the reality.” -S. Wright, nursing director, Caddo Parish Correctional Center, Shreveport, Louisiana,April 8, 2015

“Of all the life events that knock people out of HIV care, going to jail is one of the biggest disruptors.” —Dr. Anne Spaulding, associate professor at Emory University and a national expert on HIV in corrections

In 2011, the United States, in concert with countries around the world, announced the “beginning of the end of AIDS.” Defeating AIDS would be a stunning achievement in public health. But doing so requires effectively diagnosing, treating, and maintaining individuals with HIV while they receive care.

In the United States, this inevitably means addressing HIV in correctional settings. That is because the populations at risk of HIV and the populations that are incarcerated—including people who use drugs, sex workers, the poor, the homeless, and racial and ethnic minorities—overlap in the US. The prevalence of HIV among incarcerated persons is three times greater than in the general population. One out of seven people living with HIV will enter a jail or prison each year.

Nowhere is the need for reform more urgent than in Louisiana, which incarcerates people at a higher rate than any other US state. At any given point in time, roughly 1 in 75 Louisiana adults are in jail or prison. In Louisiana parish jails, thousands of people charged with minor, non-violent crimes endure lengthy pre-trial detention, and those with HIV often go undiagnosed, untreated, and without effective community care upon release. Many Louisiana AIDS service providers estimate that between one-quarter to one-half of their clients have been in jail or prison—in many cases frequently—an experience that endangers their health, safety, and even their lives.

Read "Paying the Price: Failure to Deliver HIV Services in Louisiana Parish Jails" here.