AIDS and PRISONS: The Facts for Inmates and Officers TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction.......

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AIDS and PRISONS: The Facts for Inmates and Officers TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction................................................. What is AIDS?................................................ When Does HIV Become AIDS?................................... How Could I Have Been Infected with HIV?..................... How Does Sex Spread HIV?..................................... How Does Sharing Works Spread HIV?........................... Can Correctional Officers Be Infected on the Job?............ Should I Get Tested?......................................... What Does a Positive Test Result Mean?....................... What Does a Negative Test Result Mean?....................... How Can I Protect Myself Against HIV Infection?.............. Stop Sharing Needles and Shooting Drugs................. If You Shoot Drugs, Don't Share Needles................. Know the Sex and Drug History of Your Sex Partner and Practice Safer Sex...................... What is Safer Sex?........................................... Is There Any Treatment for HIV and AIDS?..................... What is the Difference Between HIV and Tuberculosis?......... What if I'm HIV+ and Get TB?................................. How Can I Stay Health While I'm in Prison?................... What Should I Tell My Family?................................ What if a Friend Has HIV or AIDS?............................ What Are My Rights If I'm HIV+?.............................. HIV/AIDS Organizations....................................... HIV/AIDS Publications........................................ Five Steps You Can take to Educate Others About AIDS.......................................... Meanings of the Words........................................ NPP AIDS Information Order Forms............................. Introduction This booklet is about HIV and AIDS in prison. In a small space it tries to talk about HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and what it does to someone who is infected, especially in prison. This booklet is meant to help prisoners and officers understand how the virus is passed along in prison. It should help you learn how to avoid getting infected. With what we now know about AIDS, people who are not infected can almost always protect themselves against AIDS. The information you will find in this booklet will teach you what you need to know to protect yourself, your partners and your family. Prisoners, ex-prisoners and other persons with AIDS worked on this booklet. They felt it was important to educate themselves about AIDS. They put this booklet together to share with others what they have learned. We all need to learn how to prevent giving or getting the virus. Besides distributing this booklet, prison and jail officials should also offer AIDS education. By developing comprehensive AIDS prevention programs, officials can help protect prisoners and staff from exposure on the inside. What is AIDS? AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The virus that causes AIDS is called HIV. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is a virus that destroys your body's ability to fight off even small infections. Right now there is no cure for HIV. Having HIV is not the same as having AIDS. HIV can affect people in many different ways over many years. Most people infected with the virus seem healthy, and many do not realize they've been infected because they have no clear symptoms. But people with HIV can pass it on to others -- even if they have no symptoms and even if they don't know they are infected. When Does the Virus Become AIDS? HIV attacks the cells of the body that are needed to fight off infection. These cells are called T4 helper cells and are an important part of our immune system. As the virus develops and a person becomes sicker, certain symptoms occur. Some of the symptoms of this stage show up in both men and women: * Being tired all the time * Diarrhea that lasts for many days * Unexplained weight loss without dieting * Swollen glands in the groin, neck, or armpit * Unexplained fever that lasts for more than a week * Drenching sweats at night * Pounding headaches and dizziness * White patchy coating on your tongue and in your mouth * Purplish or pink blotches on the skin Because men's and women's bodies are different, women have some special signs such as: * Vaginal infections that won't go away * Open sores or bumps inside or outside your vagina or anus * Pain when you have sex, or pain inside your belly when you don't have your period * Diseases that get passed on during sex (sexually-transmitted diseases) like herpes, PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), vaginal warts, syphilis, gonorrhea Any of these symptoms may be caused by other illnesses, but if they show up and won't go away, you should go to sick call to see a doctor, nurse or physician's assistant (P.A.). Full-blown AIDS is the last and most serious stage of HIV infection. A person with AIDS becomes very ill and dies from diseases which the immune system could ordinarily fight. These common diseases have a special "opportunity" to kill because the body's immune system has been damaged by HIV. That's what is meant when people talk about "opportunistic infections." The most common infection that people with AIDS get is pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (AIDS-related pneumonia), called PCP for short. If you have PCP, you feel weak, short of breath and you may have a cough. The second most common infection people with AIDS get is candidiasis, sometimes called thrush, a yeast infection most commonly in the throat. This makes it hard to swallow and digest food. Many people also get cryptococcal meningitis. If you get this illness, you will have a very bad headache for several days. Another opportunistic infection associated with AIDS is tuberculosis, which has become much more common in prisons and jails. A new form of tuberculosis is being seen now in prisons and jails called multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR). It is dangerous because it cannot be treated by the usual medications for TB. People with AIDS are at very high risk for MDR-TB. Some people who have AIDS may have problems with their nervous system, which can make it harder for you to see, hear, smell, taste and touch. AIDS-related dementia makes it hard for a person to think clearly and may cause a loss of memory. Another common AIDS-related infection is wasting syndrome -- loss of appetite and extreme loss of weight, where people waste away until they look like skeletons. Many of these opportunistic infections can be treated with drugs and other treatments. If you are worried about your health and feel you may be showing signs of AIDS, be sure to sign up for sick call and see the P.A., nurse or doctor. How Could I Have Been Infected with HIV? Anyone can be infected with HIV through sex, direct exchange of blood, or both. It's what you do that puts you at risk of being infected, not who you are. HIV and AIDS affects people of every race, color, sex, sexual preference, social class and marital status. The AIDS virus is spread only through a direct exchange of blood, semen (cum) or vaginal fluids (sexual juices) between an HIV-infected person and someone else. The three main ways HIV/AIDS is spread are: * Having unprotected sex (no condom or other barrier) with an infected person * Sharing needles: IV drug outfits -- needles, syringes and cookers. Also possibly tattooing and ear-piercing needles and manicure/pedicure tools. * Babies can be born with the HIV virus or get infected by breastfeeding. The AIDS virus is not spread through casual contact. You cannot get AIDS from: * Using the same shower or toilet * Living in the same cell or dormitory * Contact with tears, saliva, urine (piss), feces (shit) or sweat * Sharing food, dishes, silverware, glasses or cooking pots * Eating food made by someone with AIDS * Coughs or sneezes * Sharing the same telephone * Mosquito or insect bites * Hugging, kissing, or touching someone who has AIDS * Fighting with someone who is HIV positive How Does Sex Spread HIV? HIV is spread through sex when blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from an infected person enter someone else's body, usually through the mouth, vagina or anus. The body fluids that have the highest amounts of the HIV virus are blood and semen. Vaginal fluids also contain enough virus to allow infection in some cases. The two most risky sexual activities are anal and vaginal sex without a condom. Anal sex without a condom allows semen to be directly absorbed through the lining of the anus. Vaginal sex without a condom means the semen can enter your bloodstream directly through the walls of the cervix or vagina, especially during or just before a woman's period. A woman can get HIV from an infected man, and, if she's infected, she can pass HIV on to her partner, male or female. Men who have anal sex with other men or women should be very careful to wear a condom or latex barrier to protect your sexual partner. Because women are infected much more easily than men during sex between men and women, men should also always wear a condom or some latex barrier (the material that medical gloves are made of) during heterosexual sex. Oral sex (blow jobs) can also spread HIV, although the risk is much less than vaginal or anal sex. The risk of passing on HIV during oral sex depends on whether you have cuts on your gums or tongue. These cuts occur during ordinary activities like brushing your teeth or eating crisp foods like toast or potato chips. Even though a lot is not known about HIV infection during oral sex, you should be careful not to expose your partner or yourself directly to semen, vaginal fluids or blood. Sex between women is thought to be lower-risk than any sex involving semen. The amount of HIV in women's vaginal fluids is much lower. But woman-to-woman transmission of HIV can happen if any blood is exchanged during sex. Also, infected vaginal fluids can enter your partner's body through cuts on your hands or tiny cuts in your mouth. Many women in prison (who are having sex with other women) have sex with men when they're on the street. Many women prisoners have been prostitutes or have traded sex for drugs, or shared IV drug needles with their sex partners. All of these activities are called "high risk behavior" and increase the risk of being infected with the AIDS virus, even if the woman is now having sex only with women. Even though sex is illegal in prison, some prisons and jails pass out condoms to prisoners. They realize it is important to help people protect themselves from getting infected. How Does Sharing Works Spread HIV? Sharing works increases your chances of getting HIV, whether the point and outfit are your own or one you've used in a shooting gallery or in jail. Blood carries the HIV virus, and blood can get in the needles, the syringe itself, the cooker or the filter (cotton). It may be only a little blood -- you may not even be able to see it -- but it goes straight into your bloodstream. It doesn't matter if the people you share needles with seem healthy or if you've known them a long time -- they could be infected with HIV and not even know it themselves. Can Correctional Officers Be Infected on the Job? First, it is important to know that there are no reported cases of a correctional officer becoming infected through work-related exposure. Those officers who are infected have become so through other means outside the workplace, such as sex, transfusions or sharing works. However, correctional officers are subjected to various circumstances where you may potentially become exposed to blood or other body fluids containing blood. The risk of HIV infection arises in situations where blood or body fluids containing blood enter an open wound. The biggest hazard to officers is the possibility of receiving a penetrating injury with blood. For example, officers may receive a puncture wound or needle stick while conducting searches of prisoners or their cells. There is also a chance of blood-borne disease transmission when an officer responds to an assault where blood is present and it enters an open wound. Whenever the possibility of this exposure exists, officers should employ the specific precautions described below. You should use these precautions regardless of what you think you know about the HIV status of the prisoner involved. This strategy is known as "universal precautions." It means that you should assume that all prisoners are HIV positive. The Centers for Disease Control have published guidelines for law enforcement and correctional officers for the prevention of HIV transmission in the workplace. You should obtain these guidelines and share them with your co-workers. Your employer has a responsibility to make your workplace safe and healthy and to provide you with the information you need to protect yourself. The guidelines recommend wearing protective gloves when conducting cell, clothing and body cavity searches, as well as in other situations where exposure to blood is likely to take place. The CDC guidelines caution that vinyl or latex rubber gloves provide little protection against sharp instruments. Thick gloves provide more protection but are less effective in locating objects. Officers should select the type of glove which provides the best balance of protection and search efficiency. The guidelines also provide that a safe distance should always be maintained between the officer and the prisoner during a search. Flashlights should be used to search hidden areas. The CDC guidelines also address exposure to saliva, such as during CPR, and feces. Even when these substances have been purposefully contaminated with blood, there are no documented cases of HIV transmission and none are expected. However, other diseases could be transmitted so gloves should be worn during clean-up. Masks, gowns or gloves are not needed during routine duties such as supervising, escorting or feeding prisoners. Finally, officers should follow the guidelines in this booklet in avoiding risky behavior. Practice safer sex and if you shoot drugs, don't share needles. How Can I Tell If I've Been Infected with HIV? The only sure way you can find out if you've been infected with the virus is to take a blood test called the HIV antibody test. Most prison and jails either give this test to all prisoners when they enter the institution, or you can take the test by asking for it at sick call. You should receive counseling before taking the test and when you get the results. You should ask any questions you may have. In many states it is illegal for the prison to tell anyone besides you what the results of this test are -- the results should be confidential between you and the health service's department. The HIV antibody test shows whether or not a person has been infected with HIV by looking for antibodies for HIV in the blood. Antibodies are proteins that the body forms to fight off diseases when they enter the bloodstream. But HIV antibodies can't protect your body from HIV infection because HIV changes and reproduces too fast for the antibodies to catch up. When there are HIV antibodies in the blood it shows that a person has been exposed to the virus. Should I Get Tested? Getting tested for HIV in prison and jail is different than being tested outside. There are both pros and cons to getting tested while inside. On the plus side, it's good to know your medical status. If you know you are HIV+, you can begin to change some of your habits so you can live longer. You can get medical treatment if you need it. Also, if you know your HIV status, you can tell your sexual partners on the outside and on the inside. However, some prisons and jails segregate people who test positive for HIV. In some states, prisoners who are HIV+ are not able to take part in conjugal visits or family visitation programs. Too often, your medical results become known by other prisoners and staff. Only you can decide what is best for you! Your institution should have trained HIV counselors to help you think about this decision. Some institutions have groups run by prisoners who will give you information and support. It is best to take the HIV antibody test at least six months after the last possible exposure to HIV. Almost all people develop antibodies within six months, although there are cases of people who take longer. Remember that any time after you've been exposed to HIV (the AIDS virus), you can pass the virus on to someone else -- to sex partners, IV-drug buddies if you share needles, or to unborn children. What Does a Positive Test Result Mean? A positive test result means that you have been infected with HIV. This result is called being HIV-positive (HIV+). The test cannot predict if or when a person will go on to develop symptoms of AIDS. An HIV+ person can infect other people through sexual or blood-to-blood contact. An HIV+ person should never have unsafe/unprotected sex and should never share needles without cleaning them with bleach. An HIV+ person should never donate blood, plasma, semen or organs. An HIV+ woman who is thinking about having a baby should discuss her options with a health care worker because there is 15-30% chance that she could have an HIV+ baby. An HIV+ person should seek medical care as soon as possible because early treatment can help you live longer. Some people have been HIV+ for years and still feel fine. Studies show, however, that most people will become sick over time. There are no clear reasons yet why one person gets sick and another doesn't. Good health habits (like sleeping enough, eating healthy foods, not smoking or drinking alcohol or using drugs, exercising regularly and having supportive friends) may help. In prison or jail, it's a good idea to be very careful about telling people that you are HIV+. Many people are ignorant about what AIDS and HIV really are and believe that you can catch AIDS from casual contact. THIS IS NOT TRUE, but such ignorance can be dangerous to you. Talk about being HIV+ only with friends whom you can trust, who will not turn against you. Or talk with a counselor, psychologist or health worker, but be sure that the people you talk to will keep this information to themselves. What Does a Negative Test Result Mean? A negative result means that no antibodies to HIV were found in your blood. An HIV-negative (HIV-) result within the first six months after having unprotected sex or sharing points to shoot dope means either your body has not had time to develop antibodies yet or that you are not infected with HIV. A negative test result does not mean that you will not get infected in the future or that you will not infect others if you keep having unprotected sex or sharing works. If you have a history of risky behavior, you may want to get tested again in three months. How Can I Protect Myself Against HIV Infection? Stop sharing needles and shooting drugs. Being high on drugs or alcohol can make you careless about cleaning your works or having safer sex. If you shoot drugs, don't share needles. Drug use is illegal in prison as on the streets. Because it's hard to get works in prison, most people share their rigs with their friends. This is very dangerous. Don't leave your works where other people can use them without your knowing about it. If you do share your works, clean all parts of your outfit with bleach and water before and after each person uses them. Don't take short-cuts just because you're in a hurry. Don't share your water or cotton at all. If you share a cooker, rinse it with bleach between each use. Works must be cleaned with both bleach and water. You can dilute the bleach and it will still work. Draw the bleach into your syringe until it's full and squirt it out. Do this at least two or three times to kill the AIDS virus and other germs. Then draw up clean water into your works and squirt it out until all the bleach is gone (at least two or three times). Be careful not to shoot or drink the bleach by mistake. Never inject bleach directly into your veins. This will not kill the HIV in your body and it can make you very sick. If you can't obtain bleach, then use rubbing alcohol instead. Follow the same routine as you would for bleach. If rubbing alcohol isn't available, try very hot water and soap. Let the works dry out before using them again. Don't share needles used for ear-piercing or tattooing, either. Know the sex and drug history of your sex partner, and PRACTICE SAFER SEX. Anyone can lie to get sex, or avoid telling the whole truth even to themselves. Talking about risks involved in your sex or drug history is hard to do. You or your partner may not want to admit to things you've done in the past that could put you both at risk. Remember, it's not how you label yourself -- gay, straight or bisexual -- that's important. What you actually do or have done is what puts you at risk for AIDS. If you practice safer sex, you lower your risk of infection. A woman is most at risk for HIV/AIDS if she has shared IV needles or had sex without a condom with someone who was infected with the AIDS virus. Women who have used IV drugs or had sex with IV drug users, gay, or bisexual men since 1977 may have been exposed to the AIDS virus. A woman may also be at risk if her sex partner has had sex without a condom with someone at high risk. In general, the more sex partners a woman has, the greater the risk. Whenever there is a risk of HIV infection, both partners should practice safer sex. And if both partners are already infected with HIV, they should still practice safer sex. It's possible they could re-infect each other, or infect each other with different strains of the virus. Re-infection could increase their chances of getting AIDS. What Is Safer Sex? Safer sex is caring enough about yourself to make choices about the kind of sex you want to have. Safer sex is sticking to your decisions every time you have sex. Safer sex is feeling that you are important enough to talk to your sex partners about your choices. Safer sex involves having a positive attitude about yourself: I am important. I care about my health. I can be smart and play safer with sex and drugs. My partners should respect my decisions. Safer sex with men means using a condom (rubber) for vaginal, oral and anal sex. The AIDS virus can't get through a condom if it is properly used and does not break. Condoms usually break only if there is air inside them or because the wrong lubricant (lube) is used. Use only latex condoms, not condoms made from sheepskin. It's important to put the condom on correctly: Use condoms that have a reservoir tip at the top, or pinch half an inch at the top of the condom to collect semen. (This stops the cum from spilling out over the sides of the condom.) Put a drop of spermicide or lube that has non-oxynol-9 in it in the tip. Then unroll the condom carefully over the hard penis, smoothing out all the air bubbles, all the way down to the base of the penis. Use plenty of water-based lubricants (like KY jelly) to make sure the condom doesn't break. Vaseline, hand lotions and shortenings are oil-based and are unsafe because they can weaken the condom. After ejaculation (cumming), withdraw the penis while it is still hard. Hold on to the base of the condom carefully so none of the semen spills out. Safer sex with men means making sure that the condom or latex barrier you are using does not break during anal or oral sex. It means taking care not to take the semen into your mouth. Semen and blood carry the highest amount of the AIDS virus. A diaphragm, cervical cap or IUD -- with or without foam --does not protect against HIV. Birth control pills provide NO protection against HIV. Safer sex with women means avoiding taking a partner's vaginal fluids or blood (including period blood) into your mouth, vagina or anus. You should not go down on her during her period, or immediately before or after. Oral sex at other times may be less risky, but is probably not entirely safe if your partner has HIV infection. Always play it safe and practice safer sex. Safer sex with women may include the use of a dental dam or latex barrier during vaginal, oral or anal sex. Dental dams are stretched over the vagina or anus to avoid licking the secretions. Regular plastic wrap can be used if you don't have dental dams. To use dental dams or plastic wrap, get a piece which is large enough to hold easily. Cover the vaginal or anal area with the dental dam or plastic wrap. Dental dams may be hard to hold in place. Like condoms, dental dams can't be reused. If you share sex toys (dildos, vibrators, etc.), make sure they are cleaned with bleach and water after each use. Or you can put a condom on the toy. Is There Any Treatment for HIV and AIDS? As yet there is no cure for AIDS, but a lot has been found out and is now known about how to live with HIV/AIDS infection. Tests are being done with vaccines (shots) to stop people from getting this disease and to help the person already infected get rid of the virus. Also new medications are being discovered all the time to treat the different infections that an HIV+ person can catch. So even though there's no cure yet, people who are HIV+ can live with the virus for many years if they get medical help. Experts feel that the sooner you find out if you are HIV+ and get medical help, the longer you will be able to stay healthy and avoid catching opportunistic infections. Many AIDS-related illnesses can be treated or prevented if you see a doctor regularly. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU FEEL SICK. Go to sick call so a doctor or P.A. can check your symptoms and do regular blood tests. They should do regular counts of your T-cells to see how advanced the HIV infection is in your body and to find out what kind of medicines to give you. You need to make sure you are getting the care you need and deserve. Friends and family on the outside may also advocate on your behalf. There are medications (drugs) that allow people to live longer. These are called antivirals. AZT is the most common antiviral. It is given to people who have CD4 (one type of T-cell) cell counts of 500 or below -- even if they show no symptoms and feel healthy. Early use of AZT has delayed the development of AIDS because it slows down the reproduction of the AIDS virus in your body. Sometimes people take a drug called DDC along with AZT. Another drug called ddI has been approved for people who have bad side effects from AZT. AZT, DDC and ddI aren't the only treatments used by people with HIV and AIDS. There are many other treatments used for HIV and AIDS. They include using Chinese herbs, alpha interferon (Kemron & Immunex), vitamins and acupuncture. These treatments may not be available in your institution because they are not approved. There are also medications available to stop opportunistic infections. For example, there are several medications approved to prevent pneumocystis (AIDS-related pneumonia). You should check with your P.A. or doctor about these treatments. What is the Difference between HIV and Tuberculosis? TB is short for a disease called tuberculosis. Unlike HIV, you can get TB from casual contact. TB is spread through tiny germs in the air. These germs are spread when someone with TB sneezes, coughs or shouts. The people nearby can breathe these germs into their lungs. TB is only spread when the person with TB is in the active stage. During this time, the person with TB should be in isolation. The rest of the time you can be around that person. TB is usually curable. A new form of tuberculosis is being seen now in prisons and jails called multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). It is much more dangerous. If caught early, MDR-TB is curable 50% of the time, but in people with HIV and AIDS the death rate is 70%-90% MDR-TB is also harder to diagnose. MDR-TB is spread the same way as TB, by tiny germs in the air. Sometimes TB germs can live in your body without making you sick. This is called TB infection. When germs attack the immune system they cause TB disease. After this happens the germs can attack other parts of the body like the lungs, kidneys, brain or spine. If you have TB disease, you may: *feel weak *lose your appetite *lose weight *have a fever *sweat a lot at night If you have TB disease in your lungs you may: *cough a lot *cough up mucus or phlegm (flem) *cough up blood *have chest pain when you cough The only way to find out if you have TB is by taking a TB skin test (PPD). Follow-up tests may include chest x-rays. If you are found to have active TB you will probably be isolated and treated with anti-TB drugs. There are at least 11 drugs used to treat TB. The 2 most commonly used in jails and prisons are Isoniazid (INH) and Rifampin (RIF). The doctor will usually make you take these drugs for 6 months to a year. It's very important to take these drugs for the whole period because if you stop treatment, you may be at risk for getting MDR-TB later on. What if I'm HIV+ and Get TB? People with HIV and AIDS are more likely to get TB because their immune systems are weak. In people with HIV and AIDS, TB is more deadly. It is also harder to diagnose. If you're in the later stages of AIDS your AIDS symptoms may look like TB symptoms. In most HIV+ people the skin test will not show a reaction and chest X-rays may show other HIV infections, not TB. You may need something called a sputum test, where you cough onto a slide and have it sent to a laboratory to be analyzed for TB. If both the skin test and chest X-ray come back negative be sure to ask the medical staff for a sputum test. If you're HIV+ and think you may have TB, go to sick call right away. You also may want to be tested once a year for TB. It's very important to get medical help early because having HIV or AIDS makes it harder to fight off TB. How Can I Stay Healthy While I'm in Prison? It's hard to stay healthy in most prisons even if a person isn't HIV+. Your life is more stressful than on the outside. You may not like the food. It may be hard to get enough exercise and fresh air. But if you are HIV+, you need to focus on your own health, because this could mean the difference between living longer or getting sick sooner. Drugs, alcohol and cigarettes can weaken your immune system and make you get sick sooner. It's a good idea to stop doing drugs and drinking even though they're available in prison. Stopping smoking cigarettes is hard because you are under extra stress, but this can make a big difference in your general health. Eating healthy can help you stay well longer. If you talk with the doctor or P.A., you may be able to get a special diet or extra vitamins. It's important to exercise and get as much fresh air as possible. And the most important thing to remember is to HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. If there is a stress management workshop or support group available, join it, or talk regularly with a counselor. What Should I Tell My Family? If you find out that you are HIV+ while you are in prison, telling your family may be very hard because you may not know when you will be able to be with them again. Talk to your health worker, counselor or the chaplain about getting a contact visit with your family to be able to tell them about your health in person. If you are far away from home, ask for a private long-distance phone call, maybe in a counselor's or chaplain's office. Some members of your family, like your spouse, partner or lover, may need to know you are HIV+ because you may have passed HIV on to them. Most young children do not understand about life-threatening illness. Children want to believe that you are not sick and that you will come home to them. If you do tell your children, they may be scared about catching the virus. You will need to educate them about HIV infection. Remember, you can't give the virus to your babies or children while playing with them, feeding them or parenting them in other ways (although the virus can be passed during breastfeeding). What If A Friend Has HIV or AIDS? People with HIV hope for the same kind of support and friendship you have always given them before. They may feel alone, afraid and uncertain about their relationships and their future. One of the main worries of prisoners who have AIDS or who are HIV+ is that they will die while in prison. If you are their friend, you can help by continuing to talk, doing things together and sharing experiences just as you used to. It will help for you to educate yourself about HIV disease so you can help stop rumors and answer other people's questions. If there is a prisoners' AIDS education group in your institution, you could join it and tell other prisoners to learn more about AIDS. If there isn't one, you could start one. What Are My Rights in Prison If I'm HIV+? In general, being HIV+ shouldn't stop you from getting any job or education program while you're in prison. Unless you are very ill, or can't handle being in population, it shouldn't change where you are housed, either. A small number of states do segregate everyone who is HIV+ and some states segregate prisoners with AIDS. However, most states do not separate HIV+ from HIV- prisoners. No matter how you are housed, your HIV+ status should not change your equal access to programs inside the prison. You are supposed to be allowed to go to the law library; participate in work, school and recreation programs; have furloughs or family visits; use the regular visiting room; go to church, synagogue, or mosque; go to the Parole Board -- just like any other prisoner. If you are HIV+ and you are being denied access to any prison program because of your HIV status, contact the ACLU National Prison Project or a local prisoners' legal services group for help. The right to have your medical status kept confidential between health services and yourself is a major issue for HIV+ prisoners. You do have a right to privacy. Even in prison or jail, your HIV status should not be a topic for open discussion among other prisoners and officers. If you feel that your confidentiality rights have been violated, contact your local ACLU chapter or the National Prison Project office. There are many other questions that you may have about HIV and AIDS whatever your HIV status is. You may want to write to a local AIDS service organization for more brochures and information. You may want to start an AIDS education group in your prison. You may feel like you are not getting the right kind of medical care or feel discriminated against. You might have more questions about how you get the virus. There's probably not one place to get this information. In general, local American Red Cross chapters, AIDS service organizations and public health departments will send you information. Listed below are some organizations that send packets of information to prisoners about HIV and AIDS. Write to them today. HIV/AIDS Organizations: ACLU National Prison Project 1875 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Suite 410 Washington, D.C. 20009 National AIDS Information Clearinghouse P.O. Box 6003 Rockville, MD 20850 Joe Guimento American Foundation for AIDS Research Prison Library/HIV/AIDS Treatment Info. 733 3rd Ave. 12th Floor New York, New York 10017 ACT UP/San Francisco Prison Issues Committee P.O. Box 14844 San Francisco CA 94114 Steve Machon ACT UP/New York Prison Issues Committee 135 W. 29th Street 10th Floor New York NY 10001 GCN Prison Book Program 92 Green Street Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 AIDS In Prison Project Alliance For Inmates With AIDS Correctional Association of New York 135 East 15th Street New York, NY 10003 Indiana HIV Advocacy 1532 N. Alabama St. Indianapolis, IN 46202 Correctional Services Program 3030 Walnut St. Kansas City, MO 64108 Kerry Lobel Women's Project 2224 Main Street Little Rock AR 72206 HIV/AIDS Publications: Being Alive 3626 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026 The Body Positive 2095 Broadway Suite 306 New York, NY 10023 PWA Coalition Newsline 31 W. 26th St. Room 125 New York, NY 10010 Prisoners With AIDS Rights Advocacy Group (PWA-RAG) P.O. Box 2161 Jonesboro, GA 30237 Critical Path AIDS Project 2062 Lombard St. Philadelphia, PA 19146 SIDA Ahora PWA Coalition 31 West 26th Street New York, NY 10010 Ryan's Vision Suite 6-F 277 Prospect Ave. Hackensack, NJ 07601 AIDS Education Awareness Program In Prison P.O. Box 466 Gardner, MA 01440 Five Steps You Can Take To Educate Others About HIV/AIDS 1. Start a peer education program. 2. Develop your own HIV/AIDS library. 3. Invite a speaker from a local AIDS service organization to make a presentation. 4. Organize a "HIV/AIDS Speakout" for prisoners and staff. 5. Write your own HIV/AIDS pamphlet. Meanings Of the Words AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is when you have life-threatening infections, viruses or diseases which you can't get over because your immune system has been weakened by HIV. Antibody: A substance made by the body to fight infections. The presence of antibodies in a person's body shows that the person has been exposed to an infection. Asymptomatic: The word for a person who tests positive to HIV but shows no signs of illness. AZT: An anti-viral drug used to treat HIV. Also called zidovudine. Confidentiality: The right to have your HIV status kept private between the medical staff and yourself. DDC: An anti-viral drug used with AZT to treat HIV. ddI: An anti-viral drug used to treat HIV. ELISA: A test used to find antibodies to HIV which would show HIV infection. This is the first test used to find out if a person is infected with HIV, but it should never be used to diagnose HIV infection without a Western Blot test also. HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV makes your immune system weak. It will take longer to get over a cold or infection. HIV is a virus which will eventually lead to AIDS. HIV Positive: A test result that shows a person has been infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus HIV Negative: A test result that shows a person has not been infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Immune system: What your body uses to fight infections, colds and viruses. Opportunistic Infection: An infection that people with HIV disease get because their immune systems are weak. There are many types of opportunistic infections. Safer Sex: When body fluids from one person do not go into another person. Symptomatic: A word for an HIV positive person who gets sick with some of the signs of AIDS like weight loss, pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, diarrhea, thrush or kaposi's sarcoma. T-cells: These are white blood cells that protect the immune system from being hurt. There are 3 basic types of T-cells, helper, filler and suppressor. Western Blot: A more sensitive blood test than the ELISA test used to find out if a person has AIDS antibodies. This is a test used to confirm exposure to AIDS. NPP AIDS Information Order Form Bulk orders available for: _____ 100 copies, $25 _____ 500 copies, $100 _____ 1,000 copies, $150 Also available: _____ AIDS IN PRISON BIBLIOGRAPHY. Lists resources on AIDS in prison available from the National Prison Project and other sources. 41 pages. $5 prepaid. _____ NPP Journal. Regular column on AIDS and prison issues in the National Prison Project Journal, which features stories on corrections and criminal justice issues; Case Law Report. $30 prepaid/$2 for prisoners. Fill out and send with check payable to National Prison Project to: AIDS Booklet, The National Prison Project, 1875 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 410, Washington D.C. 20009; or call 202/234-4830. NOTE: The National Prison Project produced this booklet to help teach people about AIDS and how to avoid getting infected. We want it to be distributed as widely as possible. You should know that just because your institution's officials agreed to pass out this booklet does not mean that they support your violating institutional policy or the law. If you are caught in illegal sex or drug use, you will be dealt with in the usual manner of your institution. We would like to thank Linda Evans, the principal author, and Alison Bechdel, the illustrator, for their valuable contributions to this booklet. ============================================================= ACLU Free Reading Room | A publications and information resource of the gopher:// | American Civil Liberties Union National Office | | "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"


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