Inmates should have access to condoms and HIV testing

With nearly half (48 percent) of all black men living with HIV/AIDS estimated to have acquired it by male-to-male sexual contact according to a CDC report, the spread of HIV appears to be as much about homosexuality as it is about trifling, dishonest African-American men engaging in promiscuous sexual encounters with unsuspecting women while not having the decency to practice safe sex.

Many researchers and social advocates are wondering if there is a correlation between the deplorable number of African-American men who are incarcerated and in prison and the spread of HIV in the African-American community. Unfortunately, despite various hypotheses, only 19 states test inmates for HIV upon entering prison and only three states test upon release. The Bureau of Prisons for federally incarcerated inmates tests only a random sampling of inmates on alternative years. For the sake of the current and future generations of African Americans, a national campaign should be instituted to require the testing of men entering prison for HIV, upon release and upon inmate request. HIV testing should be mandatory throughout all state and federal prisons. – © S. James Guitard

Wondering about a correlation…experts are wondering?  If the general public, who can get tested for free or at will if they have insurance, is not getting tested and spreading HIV, do you have to wonder how inmates who don’t know their status might unknowingly pass HIV to other inmates they have sex with?  Why not test persons coming out of the system, at the very least?  Why not give incarcerated people condoms?

If these men really had a voice, a voice that the general population was interested in hearing, this would be a non-issue.  We don’t care about criminals.  If you have life in prison and you’ll die behind bars, you’re an outcast in the eyes of most Americans.  Will they care if you die from Aids any more than they care if your cell mate shanks you in your sleep?  What does that say about America?  You can get cable, phone calls, visits, food, exercise, etc in prison, but might not get condoms or HIV testing.  OH, you can get raped too…let not forget that.  Then your HIV infection could be the result of a crime, forced on you.  *shaking my head*

PS: S. James Guitard is the national bestselling author of four books and a guest columnist. His latest novel, Delilah’s Revenge, is a Black Expressions and ESSENCE Magazine Bestseller.


Filed under activism, african american, aids, black, black man, change, government, health, injustice, news, opinion, race, rape

4 Responses to Inmates should have access to condoms and HIV testing

  1. Why on earth would the government give inmates condoms or HIV treatment? Doing the former would be encouraging homosexual activities just like giving high schoolers condoms encourages teen, pre-marital sex. rolling my eyes over here. If they gave HIV tests, I think they’d also be required to give HIV treatments.

    From a health and safety standpoint, I don’t think any thinking person would disagree but the government’s agenda often conflicts with human welfare.

  2. Ah yes, they might have to spend money on medical treatment…and you know the government hates to do that. Unless of course they create Aids vaccine trials in the prisons…they might consider some kind of guinea pig style program.

  3. VV

    As unfortunate as it is, I hardley think that the government is going to invest in servicing inmates with condoms and HIV/AIDS testing. Apparently the testing they are doing before inmates go behind bars is doing no good, if these are the statitcs. I highly doubt the inmates are tested and then seperated by health status…you are either on death row, or your in gen.pop…that simple, no “well you have HIV, so we’ll keep you in this section of the prison so you don’t have random sex with another inmate and give him HIV as well”. It is also a shame that they do not separate healthy individuals from unhealthy (that may be politically incorrect, but your in prison, there is no politically incorrect) as the majority of sexually transmitted diseases within prisons are due to rape.

    It’s all just sad.

  4. lalalatina

    Actually, the govt. IS required to provide prisoners w/full medical care, which is why they don’t test. There was a story a while ago about a woman with breast cancer who was about to be released from prison who picked fights with inmates in order to extend her sentence, thereby extending her care.

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