A prison HIV-med side effect: horrid lines

The Limestone, Alabama facility’s morning HIV pill line (200 to 300 people) starts at 3 a.m., “because the prison wants it over before breakfast and breakfast over by 6:30 a.m.,” says Lisa Zahren, an investigator with the Southern Center for Human Rights, which represents the prisoners in their lawsuit challenging the medical care at Limestone. “People on meds that need to be taken with food aren’t given anything to eat. They’re not allowed to hold their pills until breakfast—guards shine a flashlight in your mouth to make sure you’ve swallowed them.”

Stephen Tabet’s investigative report called Limestone’s med-distribution system “disastrous.” He says, “There are no provisions for patients too weak to wait one hour [on line]. One patient with advanced AIDS and a severe brain infection, unable to walk or stand for more than a few minutes, is forced to stand, with a walker, in the pill line.”