Four Out of Five Incoming Prison Inmates in North Carolina Tested for HIV Under New Program
Four out of five inmates newly incarcerated in North Carolina prisons in November were tested for HIV through a new program launched by the Department of Correction and the Division of Public Health, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. The corrections department began the program on Nov. 1 in conjunction with the health division. According to the corrections department, of the 2,163 people who entered prisons in North Carolina in November, 1,784 received HIV tests. Ten inmates who previously were not aware of their HIV status were diagnosed with the virus last month, the News & Observer reports. Providing HIV/AIDS treatment to inmates costs the prison system about $1,700 per inmate monthly.
Public health officials this year asked prison officials to offer HIV tests as part of routine health screenings. HIV tests previously were offered based on a medical evaluation as inmates initially entered the system or when inmates requested tests. Under the new program, HIV tests are offered to every incoming inmate, and inmates can waive the test after receiving HIV/AIDS counseling. In addition, inmates can request testing at any time during incarceration. Under the old system, about one-quarter of male inmates who had never received an HIV-positive diagnosis requested to take the test when they entered prison (Raleigh News & Observer, 12/16).