The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said that the prevalence of HIV among people in prisons is higher than the general population.
Mr. Oliver Stolpe, Representative of UNODC, Nigeria, said this in his speech on the UNODC outreach meeting to commemorate Nelson Mandela Day in Abuja on Thursday.
Nelson Mandela Day is a day to commemorate Mandela’s rules that stipulate that inmates must enjoy the same health care standards that are available in the community.
In addition, it specifies that health services should be organized in close relationship with the public health administration in general for the continuity of treatment and care, including HIV, tuberculosis and infectious diseases.
Stolpe said the record was from a study conducted in early 2019 by UNODC in partnership with the National Agency for AIDS Control (NACA), the Nigeria Prisons and the Heartland Alliance.
“The study concluded that the prevalence of HIV among people in prisons was 2.8 percent, which represents a double rate in the general population of 1.4 percent,” he said.
The UNODC official explained that the study also identified a number of factors that significantly increased the risk of HIV transmission among prisoners.
However, he said that the broadcast was in commemoration of Nelson Mandela’s day, which is celebrated on July 18 of each year, which stipulates the rights of inmates to adequate medical care.
Stolpe noted that “Rule 24 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Nelson Mandela Rules, considers the medical care of inmates to be” State responsibility ”
According to him, unreliable HIV tests at admission, insufficient access to retrovirus treatment and high-risk sexual behavior are responsible for the prevalence.
Stolpe, who praised the progress made so far in reducing national HIV prevalence, identified injecting drugs as one of the main causes of prevalence.
He said that reducing the prevalence of HIV / AIDS among prisoners was not only a matter of compliance with international standards, but was also essential to contain the epidemic among the general population.
Likewise, Dr. Erasmus Morah, Country Director, United Nations Agency for HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) said that keeping communities at the center of the HIV response, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized, such as people in prisons was the surest way for Nigeria to end AIDS. epidemic.
Moran, who stressed the importance of the UNODC study, said that the key population and their partners represent 54% of new HIV infections worldwide.
Dr. Gambo Aliyu, Director General of the National Agency for AIDS Control (NACA) pledged to continue fighting the spread of HIV / AIDS in Nigeria, including among the key population that includes prisons and internally displaced persons.
The General Controller of the Prisons of Nigeria, Mr. Ja’afaru Ahmed, thanked the UNODC and its partners for the attention given to the inmates.
The Comptroller, who was represented by Husaina Kore, Deputy Comptroller of Prisons, said that information on the prevalence of HIV in prisons was carried out for the last time in 2000, thanking UNODC for carrying out a new study.