Prisons in North Carolina will start screening all inmates for HIV beginning in November, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.
The decision to begin the program is a result of "mounting pressure" on prison officials from legislators, black religious leaders and public health officials, who say inmates are the most at-risk group for HIV transmission, the News & Observer reports.
According to the News & Observer, prisoners contract the virus at a rate seven times greater than the general population, and CDC in 2006 recommended routine HIV testing as part of health screenings. Peter Leone, medical director of the HIV/STD Prevention and Care Branch of the North Carolina Division of Public Health, said that the decision to administer HIV testing to all inmates was a "moral imperative" for both the inmates and the general population, adding that "taxpayers have a reason to be concerned about (prisoners) infecting others out in the community once they're released."
Keith Acree, spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Correction, said the HIV tests will be part of an annual physical for current inmates and part of routine intake screening for incoming inmates (Locke, Raleigh News & Observer, 9/25).