Home > HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C in Irish prisons: a call for action.

Lines, Rick (2002) HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C in Irish prisons: a call for action. [Dublin]: Irish Penal Reform Trust and Merchants Quay Ireland.

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This report reviews a number of studies which demonstrate that the HIV infection rate among prisoners is more than ten times greater than that in the outside population, and that of hepatitis C more than a 100 times. The problem of wide spread high risk behaviours for the transmission of these diseases among prisoners is exacerbated by the near complete absence of effective prevention measures. Despite important steps taken in the outside community, prison authorities have failed to introduce a harm reduction strategy. This is in contrast to practice being adopted in several European and North American jurisdictions where the provision of condoms, bleach and clean needles is common in prisons. Methadone treatment remains very restricted in Irish prisons.

The report recommends that steps be taken immediately to introduce effective harm reduction and prevention programmes into Irish prisons. This must include training for staff and prisoners, hiring of professional healthcare staff, and improved nutrition and medication for infected prisoners.

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