Former Inmate Suing South African Prison Over HIV Infection
A former South African inmate who contracted HIV in prison is suing South Africa's Department of Correctional Services for $110,000 in damages alleging that prison authorities are responsible for his infection, Cape Argus/All Africa Global Media reports. The inmate, who was referred to as only P.W., was incarcerated at Pollsmoor Prison from November 1993 to December 1994, tested positive for HIV on November 27, 1994, and filed the suit in 1997. P.W. alleges that prison authorities knew that sex among prisoners was "common" and that a "material portion" of the prisoners were HIV-positive, but he claims that authorities did nothing to prevent sex between prisoners and failed to provide sexually active inmates with condoms. P.W., who had a sexual relationship with an HIV-positive man, added that if prison policies were different, he would not have been able to have such a relationship or would have been able to reduce his risk of acquiring HIV by using condoms. P.W. said he was unaware of his partner's HIV status at the time. P.W. is suing for his future medical expenses, loss of earnings and general damages. Although the department admitted that inmates were not provided with condoms until 1996, it has denied responsibility for P.W.'s HIV infection and stated in papers that the facility informed inmates of the risks associated with unprotected sex. The trial was postponed on Thursday "to a later date" in response to a request by the Department of Correctional Services (Cape Argus/All Africa Global Media, 6/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.