California Bill Allowing Condom Distribution to Prison Inmates Should Be Approved, Emulated Across Country, Editorial Says
A bill (AB 1677) in the California Legislature that would allow not-for-profit or public health organizations to distribute condoms, dental dams or other sex-related protective devices to the state's 162,000 prison inmates should be approved and emulated throughout the country to prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, a New York Times editorial says (New York Times, 6/10). The California Assembly approved the bill 41-34 last week (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/3). The prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases is higher in prisons and regions with higher concentrations of ex-inmates than it is among the general population in part because of unprotected sexual intercourse among inmates, the editorial says. Programs similar to the California proposal "have long since been standard operating procedure" in foreign prison systems but are unavailable in about 95% of U.S. prisons, according to the Times. "The United States will never contain deadly diseases like AIDS and hepatitis C until it prevents them from spreading behind bars," the editorial says (New York Times, 6/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.