January/February #169 : Prison Breaks - by Trenton Straube

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January / February 2011


Prison Breaks

by Trenton Straube

New research looks at HIV behind bars.

U.S. prison and jail systems may hold the key to HIV prevention. To unlock this potential, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has invested in 12 different grants, each lasting up to five years, to explore efforts to seek, test and treat inmates living with HIV. About one of every seven people living with the virus passes through a correctional facility according to the NIH.

Grants are allocated at jails and prisons across the country, plus one in Vietnam. Much of the research looks at ways to provide aggressive and voluntary testing for inmates, to get the positive ones on meds and then to identify the best methods to keep them on treatment upon release.

This last aspect is vital, says Lynda Erinoff, PhD, the associate director of the AIDS Research Program at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is funding 10 of the grants. “Data show that when people [given] antiretroviral therapy [in jail] go back to their community, they [often] don’t get hooked up with continued care. So their therapy will stop and their viral load will go back up.”

One grant in Los Angeles County focuses exclusively on jail inmates, a group that’s incarcerated for shorter periods of time and thus is understudied. Other research targets people who use injection drugs, notably heroin.

“Treating people for their drug abuse is more likely to make them adherent to their antiretroviral treatment,” Erinoff says. The hope behind these grants, she explains, “is that if you get high-risk people on treatment, you can reduce the community viral load and [positively] impact the community’s [health] in general.”

Search: prison, jail, NIH, Vietnam, inmates, drug abuse, Los Angeles, community


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  comments 1 - 2 (of 2 total)    

Prison worker, USA, 2011-03-31 15:44:53
Frederick, let me assure you that not all prison systems are like that. We test every inmate that walks in the door and repeat it the we again test before they are released. Provide counseleing, clinics and treatemnt for those that are positive. We work close with providers to make sure that they do have access when released. So not all prison are like that. We do care and I work very hard to take care of my positive inmates.

Frederick Wright, Jacksonville, 2011-01-19 13:25:44
I need serinity now after reading again about a grant and sudy from our government that is full of bull shit. For years and years many have been asking for testing and treatment in State and Federal Prison systems. You do not need to have a PHD to know that prisons are a hub for HIV infection and testing and treatment is human and the right direction. But, just as in the past Governor Bush in Florida stated their will be no manditor testing in Forida or Treatment for it will distrub our budget.

comments 1 - 2 (of 2 total)    

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