Improving Prison Conditions by Strengthening the Monitoring of HIV, HCV, TB and Harm Reduction 30,Mag News

Alessio Scandurra, Associazione Antigone
Dr. Sandro Libianchi, Medical Doctor managing the Ser. T in Rebibbia prison and
President of the “Coordinamento Nazionale degli Operatori per la Salute nelle Carceri
Italiane (Co.N.O.S.C.I.)”
Grazia Parisi, Associazione Antigone

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Tuberculosis (TB) and Hepatitis C (HCV) –
are a major health concern in prisons, evidenced by the fact that prevalence rates tend
to be substantially higher among prison populations than in the general population.
Prisons and other places of detention are high-risk environments for the transmission
of these diseases. This is related to the over incarceration of vulnerable and
disadvantaged groups who carry a disproportionately high burden of disease and
ill-health; the criminalization of drug users and high levels of injecting drug use;
overcrowded and substandard prison conditions; inadequate health care; and the
denial of harm reduction services.
Several international, regional and national human rights mechanisms are in place to
monitor and inspect prison conditions in order to prevent torture and ill-treatment –
including the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT), under the Optional
Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT), with National Preventive
Mechanisms (NPMs), as well as within the Committee for the Prevention of Torture of
the Council of Europe (CPT) and national bodies in a number of European countries.
United Nations human rights bodies and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
are increasingly finding that issues relating to infections in detention can contribute to,
or even constitute, conditions that meet the threshold of ill treatment of prisoners. It is
therefore critically important for human rights-based monitoring mechanisms that have
a mandate to prevent ill treatment to meaningfully examine issues relating to infections
in places of detention.

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