At least eight inmates at the notorious Adiala Jail have been tested HIV/Aids positive and around 32 are suspected of having the disease during a screening carried out by the Punjab Aids Control Programme, The Express Tribune has learnt.
A doctor at the jail, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday that at least 5,000 prisoners were screened on Tuesday for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (Aids) under Punjab’s programme.
“During the screening test a total of 40 inmates have been diagnosed to be suffering from Aids,” the doctor said, adding that blood samples collected from the inmates have been sent to a laboratory for further tests. He said eight samples tested positive and the infected inmates will be provided treatment under the programme till their stay in prison.
“These tests will also determine the stage of infection and the patient’s readiness for drug treatment, which may depend on a variety of factors such as the patient’s medical history,” he claimed, adding that 32 results were still pending. Almost all those who tested positive are drug addicts and shared syringes.
Superintendent Adiala Jail Malik Mushtaq confirmed to The Express Tribune that the prisoners tested positive for Aids during the screening.
“We have been carrying Aids screening tests on a monthly basis and mostly drug addicts who use and share syringes are diagnosed as HIV/Aids affected,” Mushtaq stated.
Dr Salman Shahid, Project Director Punjab Aids Control Programme, also confirmed the cases. “We have imparted proper training to doctors and technical staff of all jails in the province,” Shahid said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2013.