Louisiana Lawmaker To File Bill That Would Mandate HIV, Hepatitis Testing of State Prisoners
Louisiana state Rep. Austin Badon (D) on Thursday at a meeting of the state House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice said he will file a bill that would require all inmates in the state to be tested for HIV and hepatitis, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. The bill -- which will be an exact copy of a measure (HB 1166) Badon filed earlier this year but did not push -- would give prison officials the right to use "reasonable force in cases where an individual refuses to submit to (the) testing required" and would require officials to segregate inmates who are found to be HIV-positive, Badon said. According to the state's Legislative Fiscal Office, the cost of the measure Badon filed earlier this year would have been about $14 million for testing and treatment in the first year and about $17 million for the second year. Analyst Kristy Freeman said that after the first two years, the costs would be about $11.2 million annually. According to Freeman, HIV and hepatitis tests cost about $40 per inmate and hepatitis treatment can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $13,000 annually per inmate. HIV/AIDS treatment costs about $21,000 annually per inmate, according to the Times-Picayune. Badon said he will work with state Department of Public Safety and Corrections Secretary Richard Stalder and other state officials to lower testing and treatment costs. According to Stalder, 520 of the 20,000 inmates in the state's prisons are known to be HIV-positive, and 390 are receiving treatment. He added that about 2,000 inmates have hepatitis C, but only 55 are undergoing state-financed treatment (Anderson, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 9/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.