Last week at the UN Crime Commission, delegates and experts gathered at a side-event to discuss how to address the HIV epidemic in prisons. The panel all agreed – to achieve the target under Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Agenda to end the HIV epidemic by 2030 – strong support (including political will and financial resources) has to urgently bededicated to addressing the disproportionatelyhigh rates of people in prison with HIV/AIDS. In my presentation, I explained that as a starting point, prisons should turn to the UN Nelson Mandela Rules and the UN Bangkok Rules on women offenders and prisoners for guidance on this issue.
Prisoners are more likely to have HIV/AIDS than someone in the community. Despite this, prisons are struggling to prevent the transmission of HIV to other prisoners and staff and fail to meet the needs of those who are HIV+. Instead they are frequently isolated and almost always stigmatised. Guidance provided in the UN Nelson Mandela Rules and the UN Bangkok Rules provides a solid starting point for prison administrations’ efforts towards the proper prevention, treatment and care of HIV/AIDS in prison, while upholding the right to dignity of those affected.
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Thumbnail: Flickr CC Kim Daram