Thai Prison Inmates Living With AIDS Should Be Released as Part of Amnesty Program, Official Says
Prison inmates living with AIDS in Thailand should be released in August as part of an amnesty program, Thai prison authorities proposed at the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Melbourne's Age reports. The government is planning to release 5,000 inmates in an amnesty scheduled for Aug. 12 -- the birthday of Queen Sirikit (Age, 7/15). To be adopted, the plan will have to be endorsed by the Cabinet and forwarded to the royal palace for approval, the Associated Press reports. Corrections officials currently are determining how many of the 250,000 inmates in the 200 prisons in the country's 76 provinces are living with AIDS. Dr. Jorn Lervitworaphong, director of the hospital at Klong Prem central prison, said that about 100 inmates with AIDS have been identified at the Klong Prem facility and "hundreds more" are believed to be incarcerated there, according to the Associated Press (Associated Press, 7/14). The Ministry of Justice has also announced a plan to have all inmates undergo mandatory HIV tests to prevent the spread of the disease, according to Thailand's Nation. According to Kitti Limchaikij, the ministry's deputy permanent secretary, the results of the test will be kept confidential and therefore should not be considered a violation of the prisoners' human rights. Charnchao Chaiyanuki, director general of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, said that mandatory HIV tests will become a necessary measure in the future, according to the Nation (Nation, 7/16). Thai Minister of Health Sudarat Keyuraphan on Thursday delivered 100,000 condoms to the Thai Corrections Department for distribution among the country's prisons, marking the first time condoms have been publicly distributed to prisons, the Associated Press reports. "This is the result of cooperation between the Corrections Department and the Public Health Ministry to prevent AIDS in prisons," Sudarat said (Associated Press, 7/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.