U.S. Must Implement Condom-Distribution Programs in Prisons To Control Spread of HIV, Editorial Says
The U.S. will "never control the spread of HIV until it takes stronger measures in prison, where unprotected sex and intravenous drug use are commonplace" and AIDS prevalence is "nearly five times that of the general population," a New York Times editorial says. The first step to fighting HIV is "emulating" condom-distribution programs that are employed in prisons outside the U.S. but that remain prohibited in about 95% of U.S. institutions, according to the editorial. CDC in April reported on 88 men who had become HIV-positive in Georgia state prisons and "urged states without condom programs to investigate the feasibility of starting them," the editorial says. California "took the CDC at its word," and the state Legislature in August passed a "landmark condom-distribution bill that clearly deserves Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) signature," the editorial says. A survey recently released by the state indicates that California's voters are "heavily behind" the bill, with 70% of the respondents saying they support condom distribution in prisons to protect against the spread of HIV, the editorial says. The editorial concludes that "Schwarzenegger should take his cue from California's sensible majority" and implement condom-distribution programs in state prisons (New York Times, 9/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.