63 pc of HIV+ inmates in Tihar are drug abusers: authorities
About 63 per cent of the HIV positive inmates of Tihar jail were found to be drug abusers, who are not aware of their status, jail authorities have said.Updated: Mar 01, 2009 10:00 IST
About 63 per cent of the HIV positive inmates of Tihar jail were found to be drug abusers, who are not aware of their status, jail authorities have said.
"A total of 953 inmates have undergone tests for HIV at the recently established Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC) at the jail hospital. Of these, 84 were found HIV positive," a senior jail official said.
Among the 84 HIV positive inmates, 53 were found to be intravenous drug abusers, the official said and informed that they come from a very low strata of society.
The ICTC, which was established in June last year, has helped the jail authorities ascertaining the HIV status of an inmate and provide timely treatment and help.
"Earlier, when ICTC was not in the jail premises, we have to send them to ICT centres located in hospitals outside. And most of the time, those who have consented for the test would change their mind and refuse to take the test, as there was a time gap between their consent and them going for the tests," the jail official said.
"We have to take an inmate's consent before sending him for HIV/AIDS test," he said, adding that after the centre was established, the inmates get no time to change their mind.
As soon as a prisoner is found HIV/AIDS positive, he or she is put on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) at the Link Anti-Retroviral Treatment centre inside the jail complex, which has started functioning at the jail hospital from September last, the official said.
These HIV/AIDS positive inmates are also put on specialised diet in the jail.
Currently, there are about 59 HIV/AIDS positive prisoners lodged in various jails of Tihar. Of these, 53 are men and six are women. Rest have been released, the official said, adding that a majority of the HIV/AIDS positive prisoners were undertrials.