Kenya: Positive behind bars, but no ARVs here

When Jackson* first set foot in Kamiti Maximum Security Prison more than three years ago, one of the first things he did was get tested for HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis. He tested negative.

Two years later, he tested positive for HIV, becoming one in the number of new HIV infections that happen in Kenya’s prisons every year.

In 2009, a study by the National Aids Control Council, UNAIDS and the World Bank, found that inmates and men who have sex with men account for 15 per cent of Kenya’s new HIV infections, leading the government to designate prisoners as a “most-at-risk” population.

A 2016 study on the global burden of HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis in prisoners and detainees published in The Lancet, found that 16 per cent of prisoners in East and Southern Africa were HIV-positive, and estimated that in Kenya, five to 10 per cent of prisoners were HIV-positive.

Since finding out his changed HIV-status, Jackson has kept it to himself because “HIV-positive inmates are treated like the plague.” And beyond fighting stigma behind bars, Jackson says, there is also the issue of getting access to treatment. Read more via Daily Nation