Washington, D.C., Project Ujima Helps HIV-Positive Men Leaving Jail
The Washington Post on Friday examined Project Ujima, a Washington, D.C., program for HIV-positive men leaving jail that is the first of its kind in the city. Project Ujima -- which means "collective responsibility" and was founded one year ago by Gary Isler, an outreach coordinator for Family and Medical Counseling Service -- helps HIV-positive former inmates, many of whom also are injection drug users, develop life skills. It also offers medical treatment for HIV-positive men when they leave jail. Last summer, the District jail became the first in the country to test all entering inmates for HIV, the Post reports. Currently, 142 of the District's 3,521 inmates are HIV-positive, according to the Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections. "The jail is like the city itself," Marsha Martin, director of the District's Administration for HIV Policy and Programs, said, adding, "Both are still trying to figure out the reach of this epidemic. And it's less about the individual who goes to jail and more about the confining reality of the correctional system" (Vargas, Washington Post, 12/1).
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