27 May 2019 - Vienna, Austria - The 28 th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice took place in Vienna from 20-24 May 2019. The UNODC HIV/AIDS Section co-organized several events to highlight the current situation of and response to HIV among people in prisons:
The side event on 'HIV in Prisons in Africa and the Middle East'- co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Drosos foundation - shed light on the burden of HIV in prisons in 16 Sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries. The panelists discussed UNODC's major achievements in supporting these countries in developing and implementing comprehensive and gender-responsive interventions for HIV in prisons, as well as opportunities for addressing the remaining gaps.
UNODC, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Austria, also organised a site visit to the Remand Prison Vienna-Josefstadt. This visit provided a valuable opportunity for 11 participants from different geographical regions and professional backgrounds, to learn about the good practices of health programme management in prisons in Austria.
The side event on 'HIV/AIDS and Other Communicable Diseases in Nigerian Prisons: Prevalence, Prevention and Treatment, and Policy Implications' - co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria - showcased the key findings of an assessment conducted by UNODC in collaboration with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, on the situation of HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis and drug use in Nigerian prisons. Risk factors for HIV and drug use, as well as the quality of health services, within juvenile institutions in Nigeria were also discussed.
Finally, during the side event entitled 'Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in Prisons' - co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Sweden and Norway - UNODC launched and presented its Technical Guide on PMTCT on HIV in Prisons. The guide addresses the specific barriers to health care faced by women and their children in prisons, and provides a framework of standard operational procedures to ensure access to PMTCT services in prison. These tailored procedures give women in prison a better chance at staying healthy and giving birth to healthy babies, and ultimately contribute to healthier communities.
While significant progress has been made in the global response to HIV, key populations such as people in prisons are often left behind. These side events stressed the importance of addressing human rights based and gender-responsive HIV interventions within the Criminal Justice context, and in accordance with international standards, such as the Nelson Mandela Rules and the Bangkok Rules, to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3 and end AIDS by 2030.