Egypt: HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care Services in Prisons

Cairo, Egypt

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and more specifically SDG 3, " Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Well-Being for All at All Ages," target 3.3 and the UNAIDS Fast-Track strategy for ending AIDS by 2030, it is crucial to ensure that people access the right services in the right place at the right time, leaving no one behind.

Prisoners are five times more likely to be living with HIV than adults in the general population, additionally. The incidence of Tuberculosis (TB) can be 23 times higher in prison populations than in the general community and the prevalence of drug-resistant tuberculosis is also substantially higher.

As part of the project "Providing HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care Services in Egyptian Prisons" UNODC in collaboration with the Prison Authority and the National AIDS Program organized a two-day training workshop for the staff of the seven partner prisons.

UNODC supports the government of Egypt in its efforts to ensure that health care, and viral hepatitis, TB and HIV prevention and care services for prisoners, are equivalent to those available in the community. This is achieved by improving prisoners' access to the evidence-based HIV, HCV and TB prevention, treatment and care services as well as drug dependence treatment. UNODC focuses on building the capacity of prison staff through trainings to provide evidence-based services and to implement effective HIV, TB and hepatitis programmes.

The workshop was attended by physicians, nurses and social workers and revisited HIV transmission and prevention, basics of HIV counseling and testing in addition to the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok rules). The workshop also focused on updating the knowledge of the staff regarding; co-infection of HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) or hepatitis B (HBV), TB diagnosis and management specially among people living with HIV co-infection.

The prison staff engaged in all sessions both through sharing relevant experiences in different sessions and role plays of pre-test and post-test counseling. The role plays of the post-test counseling involved the three scenarios (positive, negative and indeterminate result).

UNODC initiated first-ever prisons HIV, HBV, HCV, TB prevention, treatment, Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing (VCT) Services, Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) project in three countries (Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia) in 2016. In Egypt, through the established VCT centers, the project is covering around 20,000 male prisoners of Fayoum, Wadi Al-Natroon, Borg Al-Arab, Gamasa, Merg, Minia and more than 7,000 female prisoners of Al-Qanater.

Efforts are under the generous funding provided by Australia, Drosos Foundation, and UNAIDS. 

Read More:

Egypt: UNODC inaugurates first-ever prison Voluntary Confidential Counseling, Testing and aftercare services

Tunisia: A Step Towards Health Care Improvements within Tunisian Prisons