African Journal of AIDS Research

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HIV/AIDS policies, practices and conditions in South African prisons: Criticisms and alternatives. Toward a research agenda

KC Goyer, J Gow


The level of HIV infection in South African prisoners is unknown. However, given that 4.2 million citizens or 20% of the adult population are infected by HIV then the problem of infection within the prison system would seem to be a large and a significant management issue.

Policies to treat HIV+ prisoners and prevent HIV transmission have been developed. However, the efficacy of those programs implemented to prevent HIV transmission is questionable. The reasons for this situation include lack of resources like condoms, lubricant, disinfectants and availability of testing. Prison conditions also militate against success especially overcrowding, poor health care and nutrition.

Little research has been undertaken into HIV within the prison system and the lack of transparency in management of the system is a major hindrance in achieving better public policy outcomes.

The issues of importance to policy research on HIV/AIDS in prison, which should receive early attention, include: 1) Prevalence rate determination; 2) Treatment of HIV+ prisoners; 3) Education programs; and 4) Early release policy and practices.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; South Africa; prisons; policy

(Af J AIDS Res: 2002 1(1): 69-74)

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