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Do you ever wonder if there is a connection between the growth in HIV infection rates and the prison industrial complex? The care of prison inmates can affect the rest of us, since inmates sleep with women and men once they are released from prison. By marginalizing convicted felons and not managing the mass incarceration epidemic, we are putting everyone at risk, especially those in the black community.
Sandy Guillaume, writing a piece for Feminist Wire, talks about the stigma of HIV for prison inmates who’ve been infected. She starts her piece by stating that she grows tired of pretending that we are working together to solve the AIDS epidemic.
As the United States prepared to mark another World AIDS Day (WAD), I wondered to myself: What catchy slogan will be used this year to call attention to the never-ending fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS? This year’s slogan, “Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation,” assumes that we are actually “working together.” But are we working together? Or, have some of us resigned ourselves to the position of passerby, hoping that HIV will just pass us by?
As a formerly incarcerated individual herself, Guillaume says that she’s seen how HIV-positive inmates are treated in prison. Many of them are forced to live in fear and receive substandard treatment. This can, according to the author, lead to addition transmission of the disease, since some might fear that disclosing their status can lead to additional humiliation.
Protecting our society from the spread of HIV must become a top priority both inside and outside prison walls. African Americans are most likely to be incarcerated and are also in the worst condition of all races when it comes to STD infections. The spread of these diseases often start in our nation’s penitentiaries, so awareness might be a good place to start.
You can read more of what the author has to say at this link.