Published January, 2010

HIV Treatment in U.S. Prisons, Sarah E. Wakeman and Josiah D. Rich, 4 HIV Ther. 505 (2010)

This article presents information about the HIV-positive prison population in the United States, and suggests solutions to increase diagnosis, prevent intra-prison transmission, and continue treatment for individuals after their release. The article authors identify three issues in treating the prison population that they believe deserve significant attention. First, the article notes that many people in prison have not had adequate access to healthcare and HIV testing and treatment prior to their incarceration. Second, 50% of the prison population suffers from mental illness, alcoholism, substance addiction or a combination of the three. Third, while doctors can easily monitor and assist in the treatment of prisoners detained for many years, many prisoners are only incarcerated for a short period. By focusing on individuals with a history of risky behavior in prison, policies seeking to help HIV-positive prisoners neglect a large portion of them—those serving short sentences, those suffering from mental illness or substance abuse, and those with insufficient healthcare access outside of prison.

By way of contrast, for a report on segregation of HIV-positive prisoners to prevent intra-prison transmission, see the ACLU/Human Rights Watch report "Sentenced to Stigma: Segregation of HIV-Positive Prisoners in Alabama and South Carolina," available here.