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HIV/AIDS in Prison and Jail

The Department of Justice has released its latest statistics on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in prison and jail facilities for 1993. As of that year 21,538 out of the 880,101 prisoners in state and federal prisons, 2.4% of the total, were known to be infected with HIV. 3,765 prisoners, or .4% had AIDS and 2,312 prisoners showed lesser symptoms of infection. The report states that 6,711 local jail detainees were infected with HIV of which 1,888 had AIDS and 1,200 had some symptoms.

The report carries detailed statistical information by gender, state, region and specific county jails with regards to those prisoners infected with AIDS and HIV. New York state with 8,000 infected prisoners, 12.4% of the total prison population, was the highest. It was followed by Florida with 1,780 or 3.4% of its population; Texas with 1,212 or 1.7%; California with 1,048 or .9%; Connecticut with 886 or 6.6% and New Jersey with 881 or 3.7%. All told nine states had more than 500 prisoners known to be infected. Washington state reported 63 infected prisoners.

The report also notes which states have mandatory HIV testing and those who conduct no testing. All states conduct some form of testing whether it is upon prisoner request, showing clinical symptoms, being in a high risk group for infection, random sample, etc. Fifteen states and the federal BOP test all prisoners admitted to the prison system.

AIDS is the second leading cause of death in prison, after "illness/natural causes," claiming the lives of 761 prisoners in 29 states in 1993. Roughly one third of all prisoner deaths were due to AIDS in 1993. This number was much higher in some states, such as New York where it comprised 58.4% of all deaths.

Anyone desiring a copy of the report, which is free, should contact: Bureau of Justice Statistics, P.O. Box 179, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-0179. Ask for HIV in Prisons and Jails, 1993. NCJ-152765.

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