A Programs In Indian Prisons To Prevent Spread Of HIV Among Inmates

Armen Hareyan's picture

The United Nation's Office on Drugs and Crime has launched programs in three Indian prisons that aim to prevent the spread of HIV among inmates, the Press Trust of Indiareports. According to Jaidev Sarangi, a prison expert with UNODC, theUnited Nations in collaboration with state governments and civilsocieties has launched programs in Tihar jail in New Delhi, Arthur Roadjail in Mumbai and Amritsar Central jail in Punjab.


There are 14,126 inmates in Tihar, 2,000 in Arthur Road and 2,000 in Amritsar, the Press Trust of India reports. According to a study conducted by India's Ministry of Social Justice and Empowermentand UNODC, about 10% of the inmate population in Tihar was found to beusing drugs. Sunil Kumar Gupta, a law officer at the prison, said thatthere are 38 inmates at the prison who are HIV-positive.

"Thebasic purpose is to address the twin problems of drugs and HIV inprisons," Sarangi said. He added, "So, our strategy is to prepare theinmates to face the challenges of drug abuse and HIV in jails and alsoafter their release." According to Sarangi, the programs will provideprison staff and inmates with HIV/AIDS education by engaging them inworkshops. "We try to increase their knowledge and awareness aboutdrugs and HIV in priso[n] settings," he said, adding that the "nextstep is the enhancement of life skills to enable prisoners to cope withday-to-day challenges in an out of prisons."

According toSarangi, similar programs have been launched in prisons in Sri Lankaand Nepal. R. Gunashekar, project officer for UNODC, said that the"next step is to [establish similar programs] in one jail in each stateand Union Territories in the country" (Press Trust of India, 7/10).

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