Lithuanian Prisoners Protesting Treatment of HIV-Positive Inmates End Hunger Strike
More than 7,000 Lithuanian prisoners who have been demanding better conditions for HIV-positive inmates yesterday agreed to end an eight-day hunger strike after talks with justice ministry officials, Agence France-Presse reports. Justice ministry spokesperson Dainius Radzevicius said that "almost all" of the 11,800 Alytus prison inmates ate lunch yesterday after more than 7,000 participated in the strike, which began on June 10 in a protest over the treatment of the prison's HIV-positive inmates (Agence France-Presse, 6/18). According to Radzevicius, the inmates "accepted the government's promise to do more to stem the spread of HIV and to improve general conditions" (Associated Press, 6/18). Prison officials have also agreed to allocate money for medications for HIV-positive inmates and build a rehabilitation facility for injection drug users in the prison, according to Radzevicius (Agence France-Presse, 6/18). The protest was "spark[ed]" by news two weeks ago that more than 200 prisoners had tested positive for HIV, almost doubling the number of HIV-positive Lithuanians nationwide (Associated Press, 6/18). Lithuania, where 576 individuals are now known to be HIV-positive, has one of the lowest HIV infection rates in Europe (Agence France-Presse, 6/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.