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Health Screening Test in the Prisons Entering and Exiting

WHEREAS, the HIV/AIDS infection rate among African American women increased to an annual rate of 55 per 100,000 between 2000 and 2003 (infection rate nearly 19 times higher than that for non-Hispanic White women); and

WHEREAS, the infection rate for African American men exceeds 100 per 100,000 (in contrast to less than 15 per 100,000 among non-Hispanic White men); and

WHEREAS, African Americans account for over half of reported AIDS cases, despite accounting for only 12% of the overall population; and

WHEREAS, AIDS infection rates increased the most among demographic groups who experienced the largest increase in rates of incarceration; and

WHEREAS, the prison system contains perhaps the highest concentration of HIV infection in this country, as roughly one quarter of all those living with HIV in the U.S. passed through a correctional facility; and

WHEREAS, existing laws set forth circumstances under which testing an inmate for the HIV virus may be required upon request by certain peace officers or inmates in specified circumstances; and

WHEREAS, many persons committed to the state prisons are exposed to communicable diseases and contagious illnesses while incarcerated; and

WHEREAS, often the exposure to an illness or disease is not known until the inmate is released on parole, which means that the person has unknowingly transported the illness or disease out into the community; and

WHEREAS, the current practice of releasing inmates from prison into society without information about their health status creates a serious public health risk; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocate on the federal, state and local levels for the design of a health program that will require that every person convicted and committed to any adult or juvenile correctional institution, local jail or state or federal prison be given a health screening to include screening for communicable and infectious diseases when entering and 7–14 days prior to being released from the facility; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocate for the Chief Medical Officer to notify the inmate within 7 days upon receiving positive results and that those inmates testing positive be required to receive treatment as part of his or her sentence, probation or parole.

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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