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Nearly Third of All Prison Deaths Due to AIDS

More than half the prison inmates nationwide who died from AIDS in 1991 were in New York and New Jersey, where widespread drug abuse has caused much of the disease's spread, a government study said.

Two thirds of the prisoner deaths in New York and New Jersey prisons that year were from AIDS, said a study issued by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The AIDS deaths among prisoners in both states appears to reflect widespread intravenous injection of drugs among males in New York City and neighboring cities, said Dr. Mervyn Silverman, president of the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

In 1991, 210 of the 318 prisoner deaths in New York state were the result of AIDS, the study said. Of prisoner AIDS victims, 199 were men and 11 were women, the study found.

In New Jersey that year, 66 of the 96 prisoner deaths were attributed to AIDS. All the AIDS victims were male.

Florida ranked third with 59 AIDS deaths among prisoners, followed by 38 in California, 19 in Pennsylvania, 18 in Texas, 14 in both North Carolina and Maryland, 13 in Georgia, 12 in South Carolina, 11 in Connecticut, 10 in Illinois and 8 in Massachusetts.

In Washington state none of the 9 prison deaths in 1991 were attributed to AIDS. The study found that 528 of the 1,863 prisoner deaths in 1991 were due to AIDS. All but 15 of the AIDS victims were men.

That figure is more than double the 254 AIDS caused deaths recorded in the nation's federal, state and local prisons and jails from November, 1985, through September, 1986, according to a 1987 Justice Department study.
Seattle Times , Sep. 13, 1993.

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