GOAL: to develop evidence-based national strategies on HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support in prison settings, and establish national HIV/AIDS prevention and care programmes, which reach all prisoners.
Policies to prevent HIV in prisons are often hampered by the denial of the existence of the factors that contribute to the spread of HIV (e.g., unsafe sex, drug use, gangs, violence) inside these institutions. An essential first step in developing a strategy is to create awareness among policy makers on the HIV/AIDS situation in prisons.
A comprehensive strategy must address structural issues such as overcrowding and corruption; raise awareness among prison staff; provide prisoners with preventive measures (including the means of prevention), counseling and drug dependence treatment (including substitution treatment) and rehabilitation opportunities.
UNODC's role is in:
- Promoting the right to health care and HIV prevention in prisons, ensuring that these are equivalent to that available in the general community.
- Assisting countries to provide HIV/AIDS information and education to prisoners, wardens, and other staff.
- Encouraging countries to offer confidential and voluntary HIV counseling, testing and psychosocial support, education about HIV/AIDS, and to provide the means to prevent HIV infections.
- Facilitating monitoring of general prison conditions, both internal and external, and to operate secure, safe and orderly prisons in order to reduce violence and the spread of HIV.
- Encouraging countries to classify and separate juveniles from adult prisoners, and to use maternity wards.
- Assisting to organize meaningful rehabilitation activities in prisons, including pre-release integration programmes.
- Helping countries to train prison staff on HIV/AIDS management and on the needs of HIV-infected prisoners.
- Promoting the provision of antiretroviral therapy and the improved hygiene, sanitation and diets of HIV-infected prisoners.
- Actively involving civil society organizations in the development of prison and post-release programmes.
- Promoting drug dependence treatment as an alternative to imprisonment.