[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Katherine Todrys and Joseph Amon argue for criminal justice system reforms in sub-Saharan Africa to reduce HIV and TB transmission in prisons and to guarantee detainees' human rights and health.
PLoS Medicine 05/2012; 9(5):e1001215. · 15.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since the beginning of the epidemic, the protection of human rights has been an integral component in the response to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The high degree of stigma and discrimination associated with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has made human rights protection not only a priority to ensure the rights of people living with and at-risk for HIV, but to address public health goals as well. Advances in understanding the impact of antiretroviral treatment on HIV prevention provide exciting opportunities and even a paradigm shift in terms of AIDS prevention. However, this potential cannot be reached unless the advancement of human rights is a primary component of treatment and prevention programme and policy development. The use of antiretroviral treatment as prevention reinforces the value of basic principles related to the dignity and agency of people living with HIV to participate in the design and implementation of programmes, to be informed and to make informed decisions about their health and lives, to be protected from harm, and to have opportunities to seek redress and accountability for abuses. The possibility of using HIV treatment as a prevention tool means that now, more than ever, legal reform and community empowerment and mobilisation are necessary to realize the rights and health of people affected by HIV.
Current HIV research 09/2011; 9(6):396-404. · 1.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expanding access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) has both individual health benefits and potential to decrease HIV incidence. Ensuring access to HIV services is a significant human rights issue and successful programmes require adequate human rights protections and community support. However, the cost of specific human rights and community support interventions for equitable, sustainable and non-discriminatory access to ART are not well described. Human rights and community support interventions were identified using the literature and through consultations with experts. Specific costs were then determined for these health sector interventions. Population and epidemic data were provided through the Statistics South Africa 2009 national mid-year estimates. Costs of scale up of HIV prevention and treatment were taken from recently published estimates. Interventions addressed access to services, minimising stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV, confidentiality, informed consent and counselling quality. Integrated HIV programme interventions included training for counsellors, 'Know Your Rights' information desks, outreach campaigns for most at risk populations, and adherence support. Complementary measures included post-service interviews, human rights abuse monitoring, transportation costs, legal assistance, and funding for human rights and community support organisations. Other essential non-health sector interventions were identified but not included in the costing framework. The annual costs for the human rights and community support interventions are United States (US) $63.8 million (US $1.22 per capita), representing 1.5% of total health sector HIV programme costs. Respect for human rights and community engagement can be understood both as an obligation of expanded ART programmes and as a critically important factor in their success. Basic rights-based and community support interventions constitute only a small percentage of overall programmes costs. ART programs should consider measuring the cost and impact of human rights and community support interventions as key aspects of successful programme expansion.
Current HIV research 09/2011; 9(6):416-28. · 1.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The healthcare needs and general experience of women in detention in sub-Saharan Africa are rarely studied and poorly understood.
A mixed-methods study was conducted including in-depth interviews with 38 adult female prisoners and 21 prison officers in four Zambian prisons to assess the health and human rights concerns of female detainees. Key informant interviews with 46 officials from government and non-governmental organizations and a legal and policy review were also conducted.
Despite special protection under international and regional law, incarcerated women's health needs-including prenatal care, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and nutritional support during pregnancy and breastfeeding-are not being adequately met in Zambian prisons. Women are underserved by general healthcare programs including those offering tuberculosis and HIV testing, and reported physical and sexual abuse conducted by police and prison officers that could amount to torture under international law.
There is an urgent need for women's healthcare services to be expanded, and for general prison health campaigns, including HIV and tuberculosis testing and treatment, to ensure the inclusion of female inmates. Abuses against women in Zambian police and prison custody, which violate their rights and compromise their health, must be halted immediately.
BMC International Health and Human Rights 06/2011; 11:8. · 1.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although HIV and tuberculosis (TB) prevalence are high in prisons throughout sub-Saharan Africa, little research has been conducted on factors related to prevention, testing and treatment services.
To better understand the relationship between prison conditions, the criminal justice system, and HIV and TB in Zambian prisons, we conducted a mixed-method study, including: facility assessments and in-depth interviews with 246 prisoners and 30 prison officers at six Zambian prisons; a review of Zambian legislation and policy governing prisons and the criminal justice system; and 46 key informant interviews with government and non-governmental organization officials and representatives of international agencies and donors.
The facility assessments, in-depth interviews and key informant interviews found serious barriers to HIV and TB prevention and treatment, and extended pre-trial detention that contributed to overcrowded conditions. Disparities both between prisons and among different categories of prisoners within prisons were noted, with juveniles, women, pre-trial detainees and immigration detainees significantly less likely to access health services.
Current conditions and the lack of available medical care in Zambia's prisons violate human rights protections and threaten prisoners' health. In order to protect the health of prisoners, prison-based health services, linkages to community-based health care, general prison conditions and failures of the criminal justice system that exacerbate overcrowding must be immediately improved. International donors should work with the Zambian government to support prison and justice system reform and ensure that their provision of funding in such areas as health services respect human rights standards, including non-discrimination. Human rights protections against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and criminal justice system rights, are essential to curbing the spread of HIV and TB in Zambian prisons, and to achieving broader goals to reduce HIV and TB in Zambia.
Journal of the International AIDS Society 02/2011; 14:8. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although confinement in drug detoxification ("detox") and re-education through labor (RTL) centers is the most common form of treatment for drug dependence in China, little has been published about the experience of drug users in such settings. We conducted an assessment of the impact of detention on drug users' access to HIV prevention and treatment services and consequent threats to fundamental human rights protections.
Chinese government HIV and anti-narcotics legislation and policy documents were reviewed, and in-depth and key informant interviews were conducted with 19 injection drug users (IDUs) and 20 government and nongovernmental organization officials in Nanning and Baise, Guangxi Province. Significant contradictions were found in HIV and antinarcotics policies, exemplified by the simultaneous expansion of community-based methadone maintenance therapy and the increasing number of drug users detained in detox and RTL center facilities. IDU study participants reported, on average, having used drugs for 14 y (range 8-23 y) and had been confined to detox four times (range one to eight times) and to RTL centers once (range zero to three times). IDUs expressed an intense fear of being recognized by the police and being detained, regardless of current drug use. Key informants and IDUs reported that routine HIV testing, without consent and without disclosure of the result, was the standard policy of detox and RTL center facilities, and that HIV-infected detainees were not routinely provided medical or drug dependency treatment, including antiretroviral therapy. IDUs received little or no information or means of HIV prevention, but reported numerous risk behaviors for HIV transmission while detained.
Legal and policy review, and interviews with recently detained IDUs and key informants in Guangxi Province, China, found evidence of anti-narcotics policies and practices that appear to violate human rights and imperil drug users' health.
PLoS Medicine 01/2009; 5(12):e234. · 15.25 Impact Factor