Lithuanian Prison Officials Fired After Report Exposes ‘Massive’ HIV Outbreak in Southern Prison
Lithuanian government officials said on Tuesday that several prison officials have been fired and management of the prison system has been temporarily ceded to a group of specialists, after the discovery of a "massive" outbreak of HIV among inmates in a prison in southern Lithuania, Reuters reports. The Lithuanian AIDS Center last week issued a report stating that of the 1,727 inmates at the Alytus penitentiary who have been tested for HIV since mid-May, 207 have tested positive for the virus. Prior to this report, Lithuania had only 361 recorded HIV infections in the country, giving it the lowest rate of infection in the region. Eighty percent of inmates at the prison also tested positive for hepatitis C, and the report said that the two diseases were spreading among prisoners mainly through intravenous drug use. Justice Minister Vytautas Markevicius said that "urgent measures" will be taken to control the spread of HIV in prisons. Reuters reports that the Lithuanian Parliament has created a special commission to look into the state of the country's prisons. The commission will report its findings in three months (Reuters, 6/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.