Almost all HIV positive prisoners are on ARVs

2016-04-19 15:23


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Johannesburg - Almost all HIV positive prisoners in the correctional services system were on ARVs, the department said on Tuesday.

"The percentage of inmates on anti-retroviral therapy stood at 97.95%," the department said.

Meanwhile, more than 91% of prisoners had been tested for the virus.

At a health partner's conference in Vanderbijlpark, the department revealed that it was also making strides in curing the TB virus among inmates. The cure rate stood at 85.80% in December 2015.

Borrowing a quote from the late former president Nelson Mandela, national commissioner of the correctional services department, Zach Modise, said they had a duty to take care of those in the system.

"As part of our mandate, let us never forget the words of the late president Nelson Mandela pertaining to those who are incarcerated, 'A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest'," Modise said.

The correctional services department had partnered with the department of health to offer health care services, nutritional services and hygiene services to all inmates.

Modise explained that the strategic objectives of the three programmes was to provide inmates with HIV, Aids and TB treatments to improve life expectancy, to appropriate nutritional services and hygiene services during the period of incarceration.

He stressed that the DCS also had to ensure that it provided conditions that promoted the well-being of offenders and correctional officials.

The department provided 24-hour promotive, preventative, curative and rehabilitative services for acute and minor ailments, injuries, communicable diseases (TB, HIV and Aids, sexually transmitted infections, Hepatitis A, B and C) and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, epilepsy and hypertension.

"Secondary, and tertiary, levels of care are accessed at district and provincial health facilities, and, at times, at private health care providers (depending on the need for such services).

"There are a number of pharmacies established within the Department to ensure access to pharmaceutical services. In order to meet the nutritional needs of inmates, DCS provides meals as indicated in the prescribed ration scales and meal plans.

"Provision is also made for different dietary requirements by providing cultural, religious and therapeutic diets," Modise said.

Read more on:    prisons  |  health  |  hiv/aids

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