Second meeting of the Americas on AIDS, prisons and confinement
06 November 2007
Managua – One of the key meetings taking place in the framework of the V Central American Congress on AIDS (CONCASIDA) was the Second meeting of the Americas on AIDS, prisons and confinement which was held in Managua on 4th and 5th November.
Under discussion were the poor conditions many inmates are facing in prisons across Latin America, exacerbated by the lack of access to health services, dilapidated infrastructure, overcrowding and mistreatment.
The particularly negative effects these conditions are having on inmates who are living with HIV were outlined and participants described how the lack of access to adequate health services contributes to a rapid deterioration in health, affecting both the mental and physical wellbeing of people living with HIV. They also stressed that without proper health care and access to medicines the life expectancy for people living with HIV is often dramatically reduced.
Another important issue discussed at the meeting was how to address the rapid spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases which occur in prisons with inadequate infrastructure and services.
Participants agreed that urgent action is needed to improve the living conditions of people living in prisons in order to reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection.
Regional Director for UNAIDS, Cesar Nunez highlighted the need to strengthen strategies and actions addressing HIV and prisons within the framework of the “Three Ones” principles. He said, “We need to elaborate an action plan that coordinates the efforts of all actors involved in the response to the epidemic in prison settings. We also need to create or strengthen a coordinating body on HIV on a national level and implement a common monitoring and evaluation system at country level, in order to achieve the goal of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for all people living with HIV, wherever they are.
Participants were united in their support for joint efforts and agreed that the way forward was for all actors involved in this particular area of the AIDS response to work together to promote effective HIV prevention strategies and advocate for better conditions in prisons.
As part of these efforts the Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD) will act as facilitator in the process and will be advising governments in decision making processes concerning HIV and prisons on behalf of all the groups concerned.
Jose Vila del Castillo, ILANUD Regional Advisor highlighted his commitment to take effective and sustainable action in responding to the AIDS epidemic in the region, particularly for people living in prison settings.
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American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD)