June 29, 2009
LA County Jail Might Double Condom Distribution to Combat HIV
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is considering doubling the number of condoms that are distributed to the 300 men who have sex with men (MSM) in Men’s Central Jail in response to the rising HIV infection rate in state prisons, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the article, the Center for Health Justice has been allowed to pass out prophylactics to inmates in the jail’s segregated unit for MSM since 2001 through a groundbreaking program. Ron Osorio, who works for the Center for Health Justice, said that more than 43,655 condoms have been distributed but more are needed.
“One condom per week is not enough,” Osorio said. “To believe they’re doing it one time, come on.”
The center spends about $2 million each year in federally refundable money on HIV/AIDS medication and identifies about 65 new cases each month.
About 1.9 percent of prisoners in the United States are known to be HIV positive, including 1,400 people in LA County jails who are infected with the virus each year and 65 new cases each month.
Condom distribution is also approved in some jails in San Francisco, New York City, Philadelphia, Vermont and Washington, DC.
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