UNODC participates in mission on prevention and care of HIV / AIDS and co-infections in prisons in the Brazilian Amazon

September 20, 2010 - Identifying new leaders and to articulate the creation of social networks able to work on the strengthening of health services in the prison system, focusing on prevention and assistance to HIV, AIDS and co-infections. During September 21 to 25, a joint mission of the Integrated Plan Work Group of UNAIDS for the Brazilian state of Amazonas (Amozonaids) will visit the towns of Atalaya do Norte, Benjamin Constant, Tabatinga and Leticia, in Colombia. The mission aims to show federal managers of Health and the Judiciary, as well as experts from United Nations agencies, the work that has been developed in local jails on health promotion and prevention of sexually transmitted (STIs), HIV, AIDS and co-infections (tuberculosis and hepatitis), as well as raising demands in the areas of prevention and care in the prison system for those municipalities.

According to the coordinator of UNAIDS in Brazil, Pedro Chequer, the mission will extend the Amazonaids capacity. "This mission is important because it extends the capability of the Integrated Plan of Action in addressing drugs not only in terms of harm reduction, but also regarding treatment of licit and illicit drug abuse. Furthermore, the mission involves the mental health department and brings to the center the issue of health in prisons, not just in regard to the prevention and treatment of HIV / AIDS but also tuberculosis and other co-infections", he explained.

During the five-day mission the group will also visit the prison system in Leticia, Colombia. "This is the first time we will visit Colombia and this creates the prospect of a more integrated plan of health care among the prison population in the country", analyzed Pedro Chequer.

The delegation consists of representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO / WHO), the Technical Health Sector of the Penitentiary System of the DTS, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis and of the National Programme Control of Tuberculosis, of the Health Ministery. The delegation is also formed by representatives of the Human Rights and Penitentiary System Department of the State Secretary of Justice, the State Secretariat of Planning, the State Secretary of Health, the National Health Foundation and the Alfredo da Matta Foundation.

Currently, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of the State of Amazonas carries out several activities focusing health in the prison system in the field of Amazonaids, such as regionalized training on the prevention of tuberculosis, HIV and syphilis for primary care teams operating in the prison system; production of information, education and communication material for health professionals and imprison population; implementation of rapid tests in the Diagnostic Centre on tuberculosis; qualification courses for professionals working in the prison system in the region of Alto Solimões and education workshops on tuberculosis and HIV for the imprison population.

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