Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
South Korean Ministry of Justice to Investigate Case of Prisoner who Deliberately Infected Himself With HIV
South Korea's Ministry of Justice on Thursday sent three investigators to the country's Pusan Correctional Institution to determine how a 40-year-old inmate serving a life sentence for murder was able to deliberately infect himself with HIV, the Korea Times reports. Officials said that the man, identified only by his surname Kim, used a disposable syringe to draw blood from an HIV-positive inmate; he then injected the blood into himself and tested positive for HIV on Jan. 16. Kim had allegedly hoped to win an early release under a South Korean law that commutes the sentences of inmates with terminal illnesses (Korea Times, 2/15). Although South Korean law allows officials to suspend jail sentences if an inmate faces "imminent death," authorities said they have "no plan to set [Kim] free at the moment as he is not facing death" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/31). The investigators will seek to determine how Kim got the disposable syringe, which he said was given to him by a prison employee after he asked for it to "fill a ball with air," and will look into how prison officials treat and oversee
HIV-positive inmates. A ministry official questioned how Kim was able to find out the other prisoner had HIV and said the case has "exposed the deplorable level of medical and safety conditions inside prisons" (Korea Times, 2/15).
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