UNODC launches a Guide on gender, HIV/AIDS and co-infections in Prision Settings

31 August, 2012 - Despite significant progress and constant efforts of the international community, governments and civil society, gender discrimination is still worrisome in most societies of the world. In different contexts, people suffer from inequality, discrimination, physical and psychological violence, among other assaults, due to their sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the prison context, the problem is even worse. The victimization of these groups is disproportionate in relation to physical and sexual abuse before incarceration. The precarious conditions, in turn, hinder or even prevent effective responses to HIV, AIDS, among other diseases and STDs in co-infectious situation of incarceration. Estimates suggest that the prevalence of HIV among people deprived of liberty in the world is higher than among the general population.

The lack of guaranteed rights, in turn, makes these people more vulnerable. Regarding women, there are few services and facilities intended for them, the right to conjugal visits, for instance, is limited or nonexistent and prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS actions are also precarious.

Regarding the LGBT population in prisons, there are relations of domination and violence that make inmates with female performance identity even more vulnerable. Often, they are put through forced labor in the prison or are sexually exploited in order to ensure their survival in the cells. Frequently their sexual rights are also neglected.

Aiming at supporting reflections on gender relations in a perspective of HIV, AIDS and co-infections prevention in closed systems, such as prisons, UNODC launched, on Friday 31, the Guide on Gender, HIV / AIDS and co-infection in Prison Settings .

Released under the IX Brazilian Congress of Prevention of STD and AIDS, the II Brazilian Congress of Prevention of Viral Hepatitis, the VI Latin-American and Caribbean HIV/AIDS, STDs Forum and the V Community Forum, the guide seeks to serve as a tool to support professionals that work in prisons in promoting health as a human right for the prison community, including professionals themselves.

The publication approaches the discussion of extending the rights in prisons beyond the access to health care and other professionals, examinations, treatments, surgeries, prevention materials, ensuring the autonomy of individuals regarding the experience of sexuality, without discrimination or violence.

The guide also points to the need for awareness and training of professionals who work and serve prison systems, strengthening the promotion of sexual and reproductive health within prison population, as well as prevention and care of HIV/AIDS and co-infections actions, based on the reduction of gender inequalities.

The publication is the result of a joint initiative of the United Nations, through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) in partnership with the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice.

Access the Guide on Gender, HIV / AIDS and co-infections in Prison Settings  ( PDF)

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